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Social Media and Recruitment at Walmart Asia (1): Being Everyday Low Cost

F.Y. Teng | March 30, 2012
Simon Heaton, Head of Executive Recruiting at the retail giant talks about the eminent usefulness of social media channels for sourcing talent in markets new and unfamiliar.

Simon Heaton, Head of Executive Recruiting for global retail giant Walmart in Asia, uses LinkedIn Recruiter extensively as his sourcing point for talent and the "right fit" for his organisation. Indeed, Heaton attributes much of his team's success on the job to their use of various social media channels. Among their more recent achievements is the recruitment of Walmart's senior leadership team for its e-commerce business in a mere six weeks sometime last year. At present, Heaton's team sources 80 percent of its hires directly because they can do for themselves what professional executive search agencies offer-the first line matching of skillsets with job descriptions and establish contact with potential candidates.

Heaton spoke to MIS Asia earlier this year about how he and the Walmart organisation as a whole use social media not just to seek out good people, but also to build employee and customer relationships. Below is the expurgated transcript of that interview.

Talk about your expansion plans in Asia and how your HR strategy, which relies on LinkedIn resources to some point, supports and drives these plans of yours.
Walmart is in a number of operations across Asia. We have a very large retail business presence in Asia. In China, we have 354 stores; in Japan, we've got around 400 stores; and in India, we're in a joint venture where we've got about 12 wholesale cash and carry businesses running at the moment. In total, I think, the region generates about US$20 billion in sales or so at the moment.

We have a global sourcing operation which covers a lot of the manufacturing hubs across Asia-China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Dubai. We have teams going out to factories in all these places looking at all of the different products that end up in Walmart stores across the world.

We also have an e-commerce business in Shanghai. And we have some IT people who work on different things for us in India.

So we have a very, very broad business in place at the moment across Asia.

Now, Walmart, as everybody knows, is about growth. We look to grow our businesses in China, India and Japan. And we'd like to grow the amount of sourcing that we do too.

We are undergoing a switch in our approach to running our businesses, becoming more about having direct relationships with manufacturers, farmers and different people in the supply chain, and trying to have more control over what ends up in our stores.

As you can see, we have a lot going on in this part of the world. Therefore, we always need lots of people to help us deliver on the plans we have to get them running.

 

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