US retail giant Walmart is axing thousands of management positions as part of plans to simplify in-store operations across its estate.
The retailer is cutting the roles of zone manager and transferring the duties to other managers.
The changes, which will affect around 14,000 staff, have been designed to reduce bureaucracy and put more power in the hands of people running Walmart’s 4,500 stores across the US, the retailer said.
Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg said it had already started to notify employees of the decision.
Until now each Walmart store had around six employees in zone manager positions, who would hold responsibility over several departments such as the health and beauty product sections. Walmart introduced the zone managers to oversee individual department managers.
Walmart said all zone managers will move to salaried assistant manager or department manager roles. Their pay will not decrease as a result of the restructure.
Lundberg added that the retailer will also need to hire up to 8,000 new department managers, even after these changes have taken place. He added that the restructure, which is expected to be completed by mid-June, was taking place because department managers “understand what customers are buying.”
He said: “We think this is going to be something that allows them to focus on customers more.”
Walmart is in the midst of a turnaround plan under chief executive Doug McMillon, who took the reins more than a year ago.
As previously reported by Retail Week, part of McMillon’s strategy has been to increase staff wages in a bid to retain skilled workers.
Around 500,000 of its employees will benefit from a hike in pay as hourly rates jump to $9 (£6) per hour.
McMillon said that the starting wage for some department manager roles will rise to at least $13 (£8.70) an hour this summer and $15 (£10) per hour in early 2016.