scorecardWalmart employees are inundating the company's social-media site with memes making fun of management
  1. Home
  2. Retail
  3. news
  4. Walmart employees are inundating the company's social-media site with memes making fun of management

Walmart employees are inundating the company's social-media site with memes making fun of management

Ben Tobin   

Walmart employees are inundating the company's social-media site with memes making fun of management
Retail4 min read
  • Walmart started using Workplace, a Meta-designed social-media app, in 2017.
  • The retailer says the platform helps workers "elevate ideas, celebrate each other, and connect."

When Walmart rolled out its Facebook-designed social-media site, it touted it as a "digital town square where we can connect associates and teams to our strategy, our businesses, and each other." But it seems to have morphed into a breeding ground for memes.

One million Walmart workers, or more than half the retailer's US employee base, have signed up for the app, Workplace, the retailer told Insider.

But according to conversations with employees and screen grabs provided to Insider, it's clear that many workers aren't using Workplace to discuss strategy or business.

"Most of the posts I see on Workplace are just memes making fun of management and corporate," a Walmart employee from Minnesota said.

Insider spoke with five current employees about Workplace, the platform Walmart intended to use to boost morale. Workers' opinions varied from appreciation of the camaraderie the page fosters to ambivalence.

These employees were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the media and feared retaliation. Insider knows and has verified their identities.

While posting memes is widespread across Workplace, it may be a violation of the company's policies.

Walmart did not respond directly to questions about the memes, instead saying in a statement that the company "encourages open communication and transparency among associates."

"Workplace is an optional communication tool, empowering associates to easily elevate ideas and feedback, celebrate each other, and connect with colleagues and leadership across geographies," Walmart said in a statement.

Drake, Baby Yoda, and Simpsons memes enter the chat

In May, a widely circulated meme of the singer Drake crept into associates' Workplace feeds. One photo shows him scowling, turning away, and holding out his hand in a "stop" gesture. Below is a photo showing a relaxed Drake with an approving smile on his face.

On Walmart's Workplace site, the first photo was captioned "using workplace for work-related posts," and the second photo said "using workplace for memes."

The meme appears to represent the general attitude of workers toward Workplace: The memes should rule the day, not serious work announcements.

Facebook, now Meta, launched Workplace in fall 2016. In May 2021, the company announced that it had more than 7 million paid subscribers, with companies like Virgin Atlantic and Starbucks using the platform.

Just as on Facebook, users have Workplace feeds where they see what other Walmart workers post, with their names attached. In turn, these Walmart workers can react to and comment on posts, just like on Facebook. And they can join groups, too, such as "The Scoop," for official Walmart news and announcements.

And like Facebook, memes are an increasingly common means of communication, from people posting pictures of Baby Yoda, popularized in the TV show "The Mandalorian" to memes from "The Simpsons."

Another recent meme on associates' Workplace feeds came from the TV show "The Fairly OddParents." One photo shows the main character Timmy Turner's dad smiling and looking proud in front of a trophy case. Below is a photo of the dad yelling and looking distressed.

The first photo was captioned "understaffed overnight: getting all the live freight done," while the second photo was captioned "morning managers: why didn't you work extra."

A lot of workers are loving the memes.

"I'm not going to lie, I think if they keep allowing us to share memes, then I'll keep liking Workplace," a Walmart employee from Michigan said. "I honestly think the humor connects us to workers we have never met. I have felt more connected, and I don't feel alone with the struggles of my job."

Not everyone wants to be part of Walmart's digital square. One worker in the Western US told Walmart they'd refused to sign up for it.

"I definitely will not sign up for some data-mining site using my real name," he said.

Meanwhile, a store manager from a Walmart in the Southwestern US is more mixed on it, saying he's "no big fan of social media, especially Meta," but that he's given his team kudos on the platform.

"If it wasn't a focus point for leadership, though, I wouldn't" post on Workplace, he said, adding: "It's a lower form of real recognition."

The memes may violate Walmart's terms of use for Workplace

On its website, Walmart lays out myriad do's and don'ts for Workplace, such as do regularly comment and create posts but don't "create posts or groups not related to work."

And in Walmart's terms of use for Workplace, the company says workers cannot "post spam or other content suggesting no serious intent to use Workplace for its stated purpose."

Some employees have anonymously said on Reddit that they have been asked to remove memes they posted to Workplace. Three of the employees Insider spoke with had posted memes on Workspace, and they all said they had not been disciplined or asked to take down the posts.

"Some managers have a good sense of humor," the employee from Minnesota said. "So only the corporate gung-ho managers care about what gets posted."

The Walmart employee from Michigan said he was "surprised at first" that workers would share memes on Workplace without being anonymous.

"But then as I thought it through, I wasn't surprised since they were mostly harmless," he said. "I suppose if the memes were about confidential internal information or about unionizing, then they would be on top of us."

Do you use Workplace at Walmart or another company? We want to hear from you. Email your thoughts and experiences to reporter Ben Tobin at btobin@insider.com.




Advertisement