With people looking for brands they can trust, worker and consumer support get the spotlight in our post-pandemic era
As many companies begin calling their workers back to the office after a year of Zoom meetings and remote work, one big brand’s employees – who played an essential role throughout the pandemic – are getting some extraordinary new support. Announced at the end of July, Walmart unveiled its plans to offer free college tuition and books to its 1.5 million full-time and part-time U.S.-based employees. As the largest private employer in the county, Walmart is investing nearly $1 billion over the next five years in career training and development. That means the company’s associates can now earn degrees or trade skills without taking on debt.
“We are creating a path of opportunity for our associates to grow their careers at Walmart,” Lorraine Stomski, the company’s senior vice president of learning and leadership says in the company’s press announcement. “This investment is another way we can support our associates to pursue their passion and purpose while removing the barriers that too often keep adult working learners from obtaining degrees.” With cost standing as a barrier for earning a degree for many would-be students, this new workplace program translates into one of the nation’s largest investments in education for America’s workforce. Not to be outdone, Target followed suit within days, announcing its own plans to offer tuition and textbooks.
With a tightening job market where retailers are struggling to attract and retain workers, Walmart and Target are bringing back a once-common perk. “Tuition reimbursement, once a cornerstone of Corporate America, has been pared back in recent decades as companies looked for ways to cut costs,” according to Peter Cappelli, a management professor at Wharton School of Business. And the ripple effects of this decision go far beyond the employees of two retail giants. With a focus on people-first, these two global brands are demonstrating how to live out the power of purpose and an era when consumers expect brands to show commitment in order to gain their trust.
With the realities of our post-pandemic recovery coming into focus, all brands are now charged with finding a way to make a difference for people. Like the recent move away from fee-based income, financial brands now have even more opportunity to show their people-first commitment – through purpose-driven banking and renewed products and services that help consumers at the point of need. For more insights on ways to foster banking for good, stay tuned to Believe in Banking as it tracks the big trends that are impacting financial services, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.