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         Wal-Mart battling Kroger Ö in China

         Walmart's director of HR strategy talks overhauling employee development



Wal-Mart battling Kroger Ö in China


By Steve Watkins, Cincinnati Business Courier

Nov 28, 2018


Kroger Co. has some familiar competition in an unfamiliar place.


Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is launching home delivery of groceries in China. Thatís a market Cincinnati-based Kroger (NYSE: KR), the largest U.S. operator of traditional supermarkets, entered this year through a partnership with Chinese online retail giant Alibaba.


Wal-Mart customers at one of its stores in Shenzhen, China, can access the service called Walmart To Go through Tencentís WeChat mobile messaging app, according to a TechCrunch report. Wal-Mart partnered with Tencent earlier this year to improve its connectivity with Chinese customers. Customers can get their groceries delivered in as little as an hour.


Separately, Wal-Mart and Chinese e-commerce giant combined to invest $500 million earlier this year into an e-commerce platform. Thatís aimed at fending off Alibaba, the "Amazon of China."


Kroger, meanwhile, allied itself with Alibaba in August to sell select products under its Simple Truth natural and organic brand in China.


If all of that sounds vaguely familiar, it should. The battle for grocery delivery in China isnít much different from the one being waged in the U.S. Large grocers, including Kroger and Wal-Mart, are rolling out home delivery services and innovations on a regular basis. Those moves are partly aimed at fighting off Amazon, which entered the U.S. grocery market in a big way last year when it acquired Whole Foods Market.


Kroger has started a number of initiatives this year aimed at home delivery...


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Walmart's director of HR strategy talks overhauling employee development

The company revamped a development program that was once in place more for "reputation" than for impact to better prepare for the future of work.


Kathryn Moody, HRDive

Nov. 28, 2018


The holiday season only amplifies some of the biggest issues for big box stores. Retention and the rising demand for the development of new talent, including supply chain managers and tech-oriented personnel, are top of mind for everyone. But such talent is hard to come by in this market ó and the risks of failing to keep up are especially high this year, thanks to 3.7% unemployment.


So what are the country's biggest employers to do? Walmart took a development program previously in place more for "reputation" than for impact, according to Ellie Bertani, Walmartís director of HR strategy and innovation, and revamped it through a partnership with Guild Education, a rising star in the education benefits field.


Guild Education provides employers and their workers with access to university courses as well as a mentorship program specifically designed to keep hourly workers on track with their development goals. Employee costs vary, but Walmart workers pay $1 a day to participate.


That accessibility is a cornerstone of the new benefit ó and key to getting employees to participate at all. HR Dive spoke with Bertani about the program and what it means for the future of Walmart and for the future of work. The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.


HR DIVE: Why did you opt to partner with Guild Education? ...


Did anything come up that shocked you while considering these barriers? ...


Why now? What about this moment makes the program really work for you? ...


Why, in your opinion, is that something employers feel they have to get involved in, even as automation erases some of the jobs they currently have? I find that call for responsibility really interesting. ...


Preparing for the jobs of the future ... what does that look like to you? What are these jobs? ...


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