In today’s business world, many entrepreneurs/professionals face similar challenges on a day to day basis. Regardless of how large a company may be, one of the greatest issues will always be the people. Recently I was able to sit down and talk with Paul Watts, Senior Director of Store Layout at the Walmart Home Office, who began his career with the company working in marketing and merchandising. When discussing people, Paul says that leading a team naturally creates several issues in the workplace, whether it is actually getting people to show up and do their work or simply doing the correct work at the correct time, there will almost always be some kind of issue. Additionally, a threat that people pose to a business is the threat of time theft which ties into an ethical issue within the company. Paul tells me that it is not uncommon for employees to clock in and proceed to do various activities that should not be done on company time, such as going to the gym. This is considered direct theft from the company as it is stealing money to do personal activities (or even do nothing at all). Must all employees be monitored for a few employees mistakes?
Another issue in business is the challenge of keeping up with ever changing technology. It seems as though as soon as one form is learned, a new one emerges, challenging professionals to stay as up to date as possible in the new happenings in the tech industry. For example, Walmart is currently facing a period in which they must make the decision to either stay true to their big box discount style store, or up their e-commerce to attempt to compete with sites such as Amazon and AliBaba. Their current focus within the company is to fully integrate the physical and digital environment to truly compete and stay afloat over the next several years. This integration is also an attempt to create an easier and more enjoyable shopping experience for their customers. One of the newest innovations Walmart has rolled out to take a step above competitors is grocery pick up, in which customers go online and select everything they want to purchase and when they will be at the store, and an employee will bring out all of the pre-ordered groceries and load them in their car, lowering grocery shopping time at the store from about an hour to about 3 minutes.
In the movement towards this integration of the digital environment within business, another issue arises involving the safeguarding of company information. Security is of highest importance when it comes to securing important data, whether that is data on customers and sales or your strategy, plans, and processes for tackling problems. If your competitors find out the way that the business runs daily, you run the risk of losing the leverage you had as an innovative and original problem solving company.