MAKE A DIFFERENCE | workplace culture / mental health / wellbeing

How Walmart is Helping People Achieve Healthier Habits Throughout COVID-19

Right across the retail sector, workers have played a crucial role in keeping us all going throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. But this hasn’t been without consequences.

In the UK, retailTRUST – the charity that offers emotional, physical, vocational and financial wellbeing support to all involved with retail and the supporting service industries – has seen a 404% increase in demand for its services.

Recognising this need, retailers are stepping up their support.  This includes American multinational retail corporation Walmart – the largest private employer in the world.

Scaling-up support

Against this backdrop, Walmart and Thrive Global, the behaviour change technology company founded by Arianna Huffington, have formed a strategic alliance. The goal of this initiative is to help scale the work that Walmart has already been doing to support their associates, families and communities.

The partnership aims to have an impact across Walmart’s 2.2 million associates and their families. It is also exploring extending to Walmart’s network of consumers and partners.

The collaboration is built around an idea that Walmart and Thrive Global have both been championing. They believe that every individual has the power to transform their life through a combination of small, healthier choices and peer-to-peer inspiration.

The power of habit

Science tells us that sustainable behaviour change is achieved through incremental changes. By focusing on small, daily changes, rather than big, long-term outcomes, sustainable habits are built. This approach also grows our sense of self-belief.

Furthermore, shining a spotlight on peer successes inspires change in others.

It isn’t only Thrive Global that has recognised this. Several of the solutions providers who showcased their solutions at the digital MAD World Summit 2020 are also taking this approach. You can check out their solutions in the MAD World digital showcase, which feature 3 minute videos from a range of suppliers.

Through Thrive Global’s free to use Thrive ZP App, users from the US can complete a 21-day Challenge and submit a story about their experience. This  enters them for a chance to win part of a $1 million prize pool (see rules for details).

The tools and advice on the app from fellow community members are also available to help users across the globe to reach their goals.

COVID-19 context

The pandemic has exposed many organisations’ lack of readiness to deal with global disruptions. It has also shown that wellbeing is an imperative for society, not a nice to have.

Physical wellbeing can support a strong immune system. Meanwhile, emotional wellbeing can support mental resilience and adaptability. This is true all the time, but all the more so in times of crisis.

David Hoke, Walmart’s Senior Director of Associate Health and Wellbeing said: “At Walmart, I’ve seen firsthand how small changes lead to big results, for both our associates and our customers”.

“Thrive shares our belief in the power of storytelling combined with the importance of measurable results. As Walmart’s associates rise to the challenge of this time, we’re doubling down on giving them the tools and support to not only continue having an impact, but to take even better care of themselves along the way”.

About the author

Claire Farrow is the Global Director of Content and Programming for the Mad World and Make a Difference Summits. She also drives the content for Make A Difference News. Claire is on a mission to help every employer – large, medium and small – get the insight, inspiration and contacts they need to make real impact on workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing in their organisation. She has been freelance for more than 15 years. During that time, she has had the honour of working with many leading publishers, including the New York Times