In 1992, Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, was awarded the Presidential Medal of freedom by President George H.W. Bush for his commitment to service and to helping individuals, businesses, and the country succeed. In his acceptance speech, Walton said,
If we work together, we’ll lower the cost of living for everyone…we’ll give the world an opportunity to see what it’s like to save and have a better life.”
Walton passed away shortly thereafter, but this idea lives on in the company he founded. According to the Walmart website,
…’saving people money so they can live better’ is the driving force behind everything we do.”
This Walmart mission statement directly corresponds with the slogan you hear and see on Walmart’s advertising and marketing materials: “Save money, live better.”
Is the Walmart Mission Statement Sufficient?
When it comes to mission statements, many people argue that they can be whatever the company wants them to be—there’s no universally agreed-upon formula for crafting the perfect mission statement. But a general consensus in the business world is that a mission statement should include both what a company does and how they go about doing it. In addition, mission statements should be rooted in the present—as opposed to vision statements, which discuss a company’s (often lofty) future goals.
So, does the Walmart mission statement live up to the traditional understanding of a mission statement? In short, yes. For Walmart, the “what” is helping people to live better, and the “how” is by saving them money.
Is Walmart Living Up to its Mission Statement?
No matter what your personal feelings are about Walmart, there’s no denying that they offer many of the essential items that people need at affordable prices, to save their customers money on the things they use every day. From food to clothing to personal hygiene supplies to prescription drugs, Walmart has it all and much more. In the “saving money” area, Walmart is hitting the mark. But what about the second part of the Walmart mission statement? The part about people living better? This portion of the Walmart mission statement is obviously a bit more subjective. How do you measure if someone is living better, and better than what?
Presumably, the idea is that if you are able to save money by purchasing things at a lower price point, your life will be improved. There may actually be something to this. According to a 2012 survey by Ally Bank, saving money can impact your happiness. In fact, 84 percent of those surveyed said, “Having money in the bank contributes to their overall sense of well-being.” That percentage was even higher than those who attributed their sense of well-being to eating healthy, having enjoyable work, or getting regular exercise.
Walmart is also making strides to improve the lives of their more than 2 million employees by committing to pay raises and bonuses, as well as more flexible schedules and increased maternity and paternity leave benefits, in recent years.