OPERATIONS

Real Mex Restaurants chooses PeopleAnswers for employee screening

BY Staff Writer

Dallas — PeopleAnswers and Real Mex Restaurants said Thursday the pair has executed a software licensing agreement that will bring the PeopleAnswers HR solution to Real Mex for pre-screening, selecting and hiring managers.

“PeopleAnswers is a proven technology in our industry that will automate a paper-based process while helping us find and select management candidates who will be energized leaders for each of our core brands and help us strengthen our position as the industry leader in Mexican casual dining,”

said Steven Wallace, executive VP and chief people officer for Real Mex Restaurants.

The web-based PeopleAnswers assessment test will evaluate candidates as needed, 24/7, and identify the Behavioral DNA of existing staff to allow Real Mex to focus on management candidates with traits similar to its most successful management team members. After candidates complete the PeopleAnswers assessment test, customized, behaviorally based Performance Profiles will identify the candidates with existing qualities and tendencies that best match with Real Mex management positions.

Real Mex will also use PeopleAnswers as a guide for interview content and to assist in succession planning, as well as employee development. PeopleAnswers will integrate with the applicant tracking system Real Mex currently uses to create a seamless and automated recruitment process.

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Walmart a leader for Latinas, according to magazine

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart was ranked second on this year’s Latina Style 50 Report, the publication announced earlier this week.

Now in its 15th year, the Latina Style 50 report seeks to identify companies that are providing the best career opportunities for Latinas in the U.S. Cable television operator Comcast was this year’s top ranked company.

Companies are evaluated based on issues readers identify as important to them in the workplace. For example, among the principal areas of evaluation are: number of Latina executives, Latina retention, mentoring programs, educational opportunities, alternative work policies, employee benefits, women’s issues, job retraining, affinity groups, and Hispanic relations. This year, new categories of evaluation were added such as which companies have a dedicated program to supplier diversity and have increased their Latina population.

"Latinas are extremely loyal to the companies they work for, so it is essential that they make the right choice in selecting their employers," said Robert Bard, president and CEO of Latina Style. "It is our job to assist them in identifying the companies that will provide them with the best opportunities to succeed. Latinas can be reassured that the Latina Style 50 Report provides them with the best view of where they should look for a job."

Regarding Walmart, the publication said, "Walmart’s Latina recruitment approach is comprised of attending national conferences, regional summits, and local recruitment activities among others. Walmart maintains relations with a variety of Hispanic organizations including the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) and the Association of Hispanic Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA). Walmart also supports Excelencia in Education, which focuses on first generation Hispanic college students and driving higher education and graduation rates into the workforce. These relationships help the company gain visibility with potential candidates and top talent."

In addition, the publication noted that internally, Walmart has several task force programs that cater to women, including Women Officer Caucus, President’s Global Council of Women Leaders, and Women in Retail Associate Resource Group. Each task force works together to determine appropriate goals and measurements for the year such as women representation in the workforce for non-management and officer-level placements. 
Latina Style also noted that Gisel Ruiz serves as COO of Walmart U.S. where she is responsible for more than 3,800 stores. Ruiz began her career as a store management trainee in 1992 and held positions of increasing responsibility ever since.

2012 Latina Style Top 50 Companies and honorable mentions included:

1. Comcast Corporation, Philadelphia, PA
2. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Bentonville, AR
3. Verizon Communications Inc., New York, NY
4. Deloitte, New York, NY
5. Marriott International, Inc., Bethesda, MD
6. Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, NJ
7. Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, CA
8. AT&T, Dallas, TX
9. Johnson & Johnson & US Affiliated
Companies (Excluding Puerto Rico),
New Brunswick, NJ
10. Kraft Foods, Northfield, IL
11. Macy’s, Inc., Cincinnati, OH
12. Aflac Incorporated, Columbus, GA
13. Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, VA
14. Wells Fargo & Company, San Francisco, CA
15. McDonald’s Corporation, Oak Brook, IL
16. IBM Corporation, Armonk, NY
17. General Mills, Minneapolis, MN
18. WellPoint, Inc., Indianapolis, IN
19. Southern California Edison, Rosemead, CA
20. Sodexo, Inc., Gaithersburg, MD
21. Allstate Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL
22. Morgan Stanley, New York, NY
23. USAA, San Antonio, TX
24. Darden Restaurants, Orlando, FL
25. State Farm, Bloomington, IL
26. The Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta, GA
27. American Express, New York, NY
28. CITI, New York, NY
29. PepsiCo, Inc., Purchase, NY
30. New York Life Insurance Company,
New York, NY
31. MetLife, Inc., New York, NY
32. Comerica Bank, Dallas, TX
33. Bank of America, Charlotte, NC
34. General Motors Company, Detroit, MI
35. Colgate-Palmolive, New York, NY
36. Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Chicago, IL
37. Wyndham Worldwide Corporation,
Parsippany, NJ
38. TIAA-CREF, New York, NY
39. XEROX Corporation, Norwalk, CT
40. MGM Resort International, Las Vegas, NV
41. Hilton Worldwide, McLean, VA
42. Freddie Mac, McLean, VA
43. Army and Air Force Exchange Service,
Dallas, TX
44. Chubb Group of Insurance Companies,
Warren, NJ
45. Chrysler Group LLC, Auburn Hills, MI
46. Navy Exchange Service Command
(NEXCOM), Virginia Beach, VA
47. Nationwide Insurance Company,
Columbus, OH
48. US Airways, Inc., Tempe, AZ
49. Sprint, Overland Park, KS
50. Consolidated Edison, Inc., New York, NY

Honorable Mentions (In Alphabetical Order):

American Airlines
CVS Caremark Corporation
Fannie Mae
Horizon Healthcare Services, Inc.
Ingersoll Rand
Northern Trust
PG&E
SCI Counsulting Services, Inc.
Teach For America
The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies
United Technologies Corporation

 

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Walmart tweaks layaway fees to match rival

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart this week modified a layaway program that had yet to begin after Toys "R" Us said it wouldn’t charge a service fee and lifted minimum purchase requirements for its program.

The layaway saga began in late August when Walmart said the start date of its layaway program would begin on September 16, a month earlier than the prior year. Curiously, Walmart also said at that time the fee to open a layaway account would increase to $15 from $5 the prior year.

Toys "R" Us spotted the opening and early Tuesday morning said its layaway program would begin immediately and customer who created orders before October 31 wouldn’t be charged a service fee.

"Providing our customers flexible payment terms, without requiring an upfront service fee, is our most attractive layaway offer yet," said Troy Rice, EVP of stores and services for Toys "R" Us 875 stores U.S. division. "We continue to look for ways to help our customers stretch their budgets, and by taking advantage of this free layaway option, they can make a series of small payments over time, as they begin to think about what might be on their children’s holiday wish lists."

Not to be outdone, hours after the Toys "R" Us announcement, Walmart said it was "rolling back" the $15 service fee it had yet to begin collecting to the prior year’s $5 level.

"This is a direct response to feedback we received since announcing this year’s holiday layaway program," said Duncan Mac Naughton, Walmart’s chief merchandising and marketing officer. "Customers who make their final payment will receive a refund of the $5 fee on a Walmart gift card. We believe this rollback strengthens our layaway offering. It’s even more attractive to our customers and makes Walmart more competitive in the marketplace."

Other terms of Walmart’s program are comparable to last year such as a requirement for a down payment of $10 or 10% of the purchase price, whichever is greater, but the company no longer collects a cancellation fee of $10 as was the case last year.

Toys "R" Us said after October 31 it will charge a $5 fee and other rules will continue to apply. For example, regardless of when the order was created, there is a 20% down payment requirement and shoppers have 45 days from the time the order was initiated to pay for at least half of the their order. Orders must be paid in full by and picked up by December 16 or there is a $10 cancellation fee.

The biggest difference in the programs at the two retailers is the categories of merchandise eligible for layaway. All toys in its Toys "R" Us stores and most items at Babies "R" Us store are eligible for layaway, in comparison to when the program was first launched and merchandise categories were limited to large items such as bikes, swing sets, dollhouses and play kitchens. Since then, additional categories of merchandise were added such as video game hardware and tablet computers and last year saw expansion to virtually all merchandise categories. Excluded from the program are categories such as batteries, diapers, candy, food and formula, some seasonal items, health and beauty aids, apparel and doorbuster deals.

At Walmart, the list of merchandise categories also was expanded this year after the program was reinstituted last holiday season. Walmart has added small appliances and select sporting goods such as basketball goals, trampolines and large exercise equipment to electronics, toys and jewelry as categories eligible for layaway.

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