TECHNOLOGY

Walmart gives incentive to employees who use their own cell phones for work

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart is giving its employees cell phone privileges — for job-related tasks.

The discount giant is rolling out a new initiative, called bring-your-own-device (BYOD), that enables associates to use their personal smartphone for tasks that are directly related to their jobs. Through the new program, participating associates have the option to download Walmart’s app suite directly to their own personal devices. The apps include inventory files, navigation tools to find merchandise in-store, and company announcements. The suite also features task management apps that share notes and assignments for individual employees.

The app suite is available to associates upon clocking in for their shift. Associates who use their own phones for work receive a discount on their monthly phone bills.

The BYOD strategy complements the company’s existing program that enables associates to use a proprietary handheld device to manage daily tasks. Walmart continues to bolster this network as well, and has plans to add “tens of thousands” more devices to stores over the coming months.

“We know technology is helping our associates be more productive and deliver for our customers in new ways,” Brock McKeel, senior director of digital operations, Walmart, said in a blog on the company’s website. “BYOD is just another option our people will have to access the custom apps that help associates perform their jobs.”

According to the company, associates are making a smooth transition to the new program.

“We’re introducing is something that’s already second nature to most of our associates,” McKeel added. “It’s a smarter way to work – for the business, for our associates, and for customers.”

In its blog, Walmart acknowledged that privacy can be a concern for many associates who want to use their own device for work. For that reason, the company has been very specific about what Walmart can and can’t see on associates’ phones. The info that can’t be seen by the retailer includes the user’s personal email and data, photos/videos, Web activity, list of apps, location and more.

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