Walmart to add hundreds of new truck drivers, raise salary to almost $90K

Walmart is hoping to hire hundreds of new truck drivers this year and raise their wages to almost $90,000 a year.

The retail giant added more than 1,400 new truck drivers to its fleet last year and "hundreds more are slated to join" in 2019, the company said in a press release. Additionally, beginning in February, Walmart is increasing driver pay by one cent per mile and providing additional pay for every arrival. The moves will bring the average salary of Walmart's drivers up to $87,500 a year, with an all-in rate of nearly 89 cents per mile.

Walmart is reinventing its truck driver orientation, the company said, which will allow for a faster hiring process and more mentorships. The steps "are all a part of new onboarding events that are filling critical new jobs created by Walmart's business growth during an industry-wide shortage."

The new practices are a response to increased demands on the company's transportation network. In 2018, Walmart saw same-store sales grow 3 percent over the previous year.

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5 biggest mistakes shoppers make, according to Walmart employees
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5 biggest mistakes shoppers make, according to Walmart employees

Making assumptions about the services offered at your local store

Walmart does offer product care plans and a trade-in program that allows shoppers to exchange devices for gift cards.

But one Walmart employee of nine years told Business Insider that it was a mistake for customers to just assume "we have an electronics repair facility here."

If you're in doubt, it's best to skip the wild goose chase and try calling ahead.

Failing to plan out your shopping trips

Shopping for a big holiday weekend blowout?

Well, just assume that everyone else is following suit.

An associate of 12 years told Business Insider that it was a mistake to wait "until the last minute to shop," especially when it comes to busier times of the week or year.

The employee added that some shoppers fail to understand that "they aren't the only people that will show up. So, yes, there will be lines at the registers. Plan better — plan early."

A Reddit poster who said they worked in the electronics department at Walmart noted that Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays typically garner the biggest crowds.

Skipping an important return hack

A Walmart store manager told the savings-oriented blog The Krazy Coupon Lady that there's a way to return products ordered online with less hassle.

If you end up ordering an item on Walmart.com that you don't actually want, you can return it through the chain's mobile express returns system.

"You just get a QR code from your Walmart app, bring your item to the store, skip the line, and scan your QR code on the credit card machine," according to The Krazy Coupon Lady.

Being mean to Walmart associates

A Walmart employee of 15 years said that "being mean" to the employees at Walmart is probably the biggest mistake a shopper can make.

"If you are nice to them, they will bend over backwards to help you," the employee told Business Insider.

That means acting courteously and not threatening to "contact management or the home office" when something goes wrong that's outside of the employees' control, according to an associate of 11 years.

"Unfortunately, there is a bad stigma surrounding Walmart employees," former Walmart employee Crystal Linn wrote on Quora.

They added that customers sometimes buy into that bias and treat the associates as "ignorant high school drop-outs."

"I even had a woman ask me once, 'Do you even know what an electric can opener is?' after I showed her where the handheld ones were located," Linn wrote. "Not everyone is like this, of course, but it seems that the large majority have this idea in their mind that anyone that works at Walmart is trashy. The way that people treat you because of that really wears you down."

Forgetting to check for markdowns

Want to save some money on your next Walmart run? Watch out for the prices.

Specifically, keep an eye out for price tags ending in 0 or 1.

According to an interview with a Walmart store manager on The Krazy Coupon Lady, a pricetag ending with a 0 or a 1 denotes a "final markdown price." Meanwhile, the store manager told the blog that prices ending in 5 "are the first markdown price."

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The company's new tactics have decreased the time between a candidate's initial review and their mandatory driving assessment by half. Lori Furnell, Walmart's director of driver talent acquisition, said in the release that the new practices "are both improving the skill level of our candidates and enriching their onboarding experience."

"We're leaning heavily on the expertise of our Walmart road team and our certified driver trainers to grow our skilled fleet of professional drivers," Furnell said.

According to Furnell, the new hiring process, which began in August, is a way to give candidates the chance to learn the "Walmart way."

Before August, applicants were given one opportunity to perform a driving assessment. They were evaluated for driving skills and pre-trip safety inspections of their trucks. Now, the process includes one-on-one mentoring with veteran drivers. Walmart has established locations in Arizona and South Carolina to serve as week-long onboarding facilities where veteran drivers show new hires the skills they must master or improve on before they begin driving themselves.

Copyright 2019 U.S. News & World Report

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