Walmart Uses Alteryx to Deploy Company-Wide Compensation Increase for 1.2 Million Associates
Walmart increased wages for 1.2 million associates and utilized Alteryx to communicate that increase in personalized letters on a single day to each employee by location.
As the largest retailer in the world, Walmart has 2.3 million associates who meet the needs of more than 260 million customers every week. As Senior Manager for United States Compensation, Sanjiva Srivastava is part of the Compensation Insights and Analytics team that supports three different teams within the global compensation umbrella. His biggest group is the U.S. team, which manages the pay and administration of all the hourly and management associates in the U.S. and Puerto Rico for both Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs.
Deeper Insights: Walmart evaluated the impact of different annual cost scenarios to pick the best solution for the company and for its associates.
Hours vs. Weeks: Two workflows, running 2 to 3 hours, generated and emailed 5,000 PDFs — a project that would have taken weeks or months to do manually.
Repeatable Workflow: Walmart created a form inside an analytic app that allowed individualized reports to be generated for 1.2 million associates.
Last year Walmart announced that the company would spend $2.7 billion in associate wages, training, and other benefits. In a newsworthy story, the company increased pay for 1.2 million associates with a new compensation plan. Walmart brought all hourly associates in the U.S. up to earning at minimum $10 an hour. That’s a significant volume of change in payroll, and Walmart wanted to execute the increase for the whole company together in one day. The challenge Srivastava faced was to communicate wage increases to 1.2 million associates on a single day through personalized letters to each employee by location. The notice needed to be written several weeks prior to the effective date of the change. Traditionally, when an associate receives a pay increase, the store manager meets with the associate to present him or her with a personal notice and discuss the pay change. Normally, the system generates a letter after the pay changes take effect in the stores, which meant that 1.2 million associates would be receiving letters and notifications in a single day. Because the change affected so many associates, it would have been challenging for the store and club managers to take care of customers and also have personal interactions with each associate in a single day. Srivastava had to come up with a solution so that managers could start alerting employees of the change, present the paperwork, and have those conversations all without disrupting the business.
Walmart also needed to understand the financial implications of a wage increase of this magnitude. Srivastava’s team had to run models to consider different scenarios for the wage increase. Batch processing was not fast enough using traditional tools. Srivastava was limited to doing costing at a store level. He had limited flexibility and his team had to make lots of manual changes. It was slowing them down.
Srivastava needed a fast solution to send individual communications for each associate. He had a compressed timeline and resource constraints. His team looked at doing mail merges, but that didn’t work with the volume of data. Leveraging the IT team would have taken a long time as they were busy working to ensure that systems were in place to implement the payroll change for nearly 5,000 stores and clubs. Srivastava had been using Alteryx for the last two years, mostly for data blending and cleansing. He knew that Alteryx was a powerful tool to bring in data from disparate sources and blend them together into a single view, but he had never used the Alteryx reporting feature. Srivastava did some research and found that he could use Alteryx to easily generate PDFs and send emails. He was able to build the workflow quickly in 30 minutes.
It took one hour for the workflow to run and generate all 5,000 PDFs — one for each store. Each PDF had 300-900 pages, one page for each associate in that store or club. Srivastava was pleased to see that the file sizes generated by Alteryx were reasonably small and easily manageable for email distribution. Srivastava says, “Surprisingly, with Alteryx, 99% of the PDFs were less than 1 MB.”
Srivastava was able to create another workflow to read in the PDFs from the folders and send the emails to each Walmart and Sam’s Club location. Creating the actual workflow was simple, and that ran for less than an hour and a half. While it was blending data, the workflow also generated the email addresses on the fly based on generic IDs for the store numbers. It created the email body with text and sent the 5,000 emails.
Combined, these two workflows ran for two to three hours, accomplishing work that would have taken weeks or months to do manually. Using Alteryx, the team successfully created a form that was individualized based on each associate, packaged together by location, and delivered in a single, reasonably-sized PDF to each Walmart and Sam’s Club location to announce the U.S.-wide pay increase for 1.2 million associates.
“With Alteryx we would generate multiple scenarios per day. For the business, it allowed the leadership to actually pick not one solution from five different solutions, but from a buffet of 20 different options. That’s best for the company and best for the associates.”
Senior Manager, United States Compensation
Watch Sanjiva Srivastava’s presentation from Inspire 2016.
Alteryx provided an effective solution because Srivastava was able to personalize communication to each associate. If he didn’t have Alteryx, it would have taken additional time and resources to communicate to the stores and clubs in a timely manner.
Srivastava also recognized significant benefit using Alteryx for cost modeling of the wage increase. When Walmart first started the cost modeling for their associate commitment project, Srivastava looked at traditional software solutions, but there were too many manual touch points. Every time he needed to make changes, he had to go back and alter the queries. With Alteryx, he was able to automate the changes in workflows to generate different scenarios for management review. That saved his team a lot of time and reduced chances of error.
With Alteryx, Srivastava was able to analyze at a more granular level and do costing at an associate level. His team generated the cost analysis for each of the stores, based on all the associates in the U.S. With the resulting analytic app in Alteryx, his team was able to externalize the parameters that they wanted to change every time and then run the models.
Walmart needed to look at the annual cost of the pay changes. Before using Alteryx, Srivastava’s team was running only a couple of scenarios per week. With Alteryx they could generate multiple scenarios per day. This allowed Walmart leadership to make the best decisions based on several different options instead of just a few. They could truly pick a solution that was best for the company and for the associates.
Using Alteryx, Walmart was able to do more efficient and effective cost analysis of a dramatic across-the-board pay increase and seamlessly execute personalized communication of the increase for each associate.