A minor uproar ensued a few months ago when outlets like NPR reported Walmart was eliminating the familiar greeter job in 1000 stores.
So it seemed odd when I saw a local competitor of Walmart placing a greeter in a store that I frequent. The person told me they were working a “light duty” job.
Here is why I think more big retailers will be putting in greeters.
I wrote back in 2017 that retailing jobs were becoming heavier and more hazardous because more employees would be involved in delivery work created by online ordering.
But doesn’t the fact that retail jobs are becoming physically more demanding mean that light jobs like greeter will be eliminated?
I don’t believe so. Heavier jobs mean more injuries on the job. More injuries on the job mean employers will be looking to place employees on so-called “light” or alternate duty jobs. More light or alternate duty assignments means injured workers getting placed into light jobs like greeter or other attendant jobs on a temporary basis.
In my experience Walmart accommodates injured employees through something called a Temporary Alternate Duty (TAD) matrix. The TAD matrix is a mix of job light job functions that can be done. The Greeter job is part of that matrix. I doubt that Walmart is going to take Greeter out of their matrix when the alternative would be paying their injured workers temporary total disability.
I learned the term TAD back in 2012 when I deposed a Walmart store manager in central Nebraska. In 2012, there were also press reports that Walmart had eliminated the greeter job. When I asked the Walmart manager about those reports, he was flippant with me In retrospect, he had some grounds to think I asked a stupid question. Walmart didn’t get rid of greeters in 2012 and I doubt they will in 2019. (Walmart has nearly 4,500 stores in the United States. Recent press accounts report Walmart is only eliminating greeters in 1000 stores)
I don’t want to sound dismissive of disabled employees who work as greeters who might have lost their job. But I believe that Walmart shoppers and shoppers of similar stores will continue to see store greeters because that’s how retail employers will accommodate injured employees by placing them into ligther jobs like greeter or attendant jobs.