MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Walmart is another retailer gearing up for the holidays -- and the company hopes to make a change this year. This, after Walmart last year saw Black Friday protests involving workers who walked off the job because they were unhappy about pay and scheduling. On Tuesday, October 29th, a Walmart Senior VP was in town -- and some Walmart workers received promotions on the spot!
"When we think about going into the holiday, it's really important to our associates that they hear from our leadership how much it is we appreciate we do," Walmart Senior VP Karisa Sprague said.
Sprague says honoring exceptional employees is part of an ongoing nationwide effort. The big box retailer promotes about 435 people across the country daily.
Christopher Phillips was promoted on Tuesday, October 29th.
"My heart is still beating fast. I`m still surprised," Phillips said.
Phillips went from serving as a deli associate to being named Deli Department Manager.
Despite last year's backlash against stores across the country, Phillips says the retailer has done a lot to make sure employees are appreciated.
"Their efforts are good now. They are promoting a lot of people. It means a lot to me because actually they`re not looking at you just as an associate. They're looking at my hard work and I appreciate it. I hope I move up in a couple of years," Phillips said.
While staff members are ready to take the next step in their careers, they are also preparing for other promotions -- like deals for the holidays.
"Layaway is back this year and being received extremely well, a lot of tablets, computers, computer accessories -- a lot of toys," Sprague said.
Tuesday's presentation and recognition for employees seemed to be a morale booster in many ways.
"Whenever we can bring together a common effort and deliver for them going on into the holiday -- it makes everyone`s position better," Sprague said.
Despite this year's efforts, Walmart continues to face criticism over how it pays its employees. In September, the company said it had about 1 million associates. More than half -- 525,000, earned less than $25,000 per year for full-time work.