Irresistible 2022– Microsoft and Walmart HR Innovators Recognized with HR Hero Awards

  • The accolades highlight above-and-beyond achievements in culture transformation, employee experience and wellbeing, and inclusivity during a period of immense change in the workplace
  • Microsoft and Walmart leaders received the HR Hero awards at the Irresistible event, launched to inspire HR leaders with pioneering best practice in a reinvented workplace which truly puts employees first

The Josh Bersin Company, a research and advisory company focused on HR and workforce strategies, has presented two trailblazing HR leaders with HR Hero awards at the inaugural Irresistible event, recognizing their success in building an “irresistible organization” during one of the most challenging times for employers and the workplace globally.

  • Amy Coleman, Corporate VP of HR at Microsoft, accepted Microsoft’s HR Hero award for the organization’s work driving a dramatic culture transformation across the vast global business, empowering both employees and customers: Early in the pandemic, Microsoft built an Emergency Remote Operations Model, where more than 80% of retail store employees who were now working from home signed up to provide virtual training for customers.
  • To boost employee wellbeing – emotional, financial, physical, and psychological – Microsoft raised the profile of and added to associated support resources. It:
    • Modified sick days to include “Sick and Mental Health Time”;
    • Added leave for parents struggling with kids out of school; and
    • Offered all employees five “wellbeing days”.
  • A new hybrid workplace flexibility model provides employees with flexibility to support individual work styles, and balance business needs.
  • Microsoft’s HR team also took a leadership role in working with engineering and product design to develop Microsoft Viva, an employee experience platform that helps reimagine company culture, employee wellbeing, knowledge sharing, and learning for the hybrid work world.
    • In just one year, Viva has reached more than 10 million monthly active users and is used by more than 1,000 paid customers to help address challenges like employee burnout and retention.

Also taking away a well-deserved HR Hero award, was Walmart. Donna Morris, Chief People Officer at Walmart, accepted the accolade for her team’s unwavering focus on its associates:

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  • To support their ongoing career growth, Walmart is covering 100% of college tuition for U.S. associates to ensure access to debt-free education.
  • Additionally, the retailer provides on-the-job retail skills training through Academies, and continued, and even accelerated, this focus throughout the pandemic.
  • Wage investments for its front-line associates continues, most recently with its truck drivers, who can now earn $110,000 in their first year. Walmart store managers earn an average salary of $210,000.
  • To support emotional well-being, the team provides access to no-cost counseling sessions and additional mental health services to all associates. And during the early part of the pandemic, Walmart established a first-of-its-kind COVID leave policy.
  • Inclusion is a fundamental part of Walmart’s strategy as well, and the company is committed to making Walmart a place where everyone feels they belong.
  • As part of its broader efforts to address and accelerate change relating to systemic racism in society, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation committed $100 million over five years through’s Center for Racial Equity.
  • To ensure associates have the best experience and digital tools to do their job, the company also provided 750,000 Samsung smartphones at no cost to its front-line staff.

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Josh Bersin, global HR research analyst and CEO of The Josh Bersin Company, said:

“I am delighted to have been able to present the very first HR Hero awards to Amy and Donna – two trailblazers in their field – at this ground-breaking event. Irresistible 2022 is the first in a series of new forums at which HR professionals from around the world can share experiences about how they can and must adapt – now that employees’ expectations and needs are both acute and complex, centering around a genuinely differentiated work experience. Our HR Heroes have clearly demonstrated their commitment to and success in delivering that.

“Amy Coleman of Microsoft and Donna Morris from Walmart – and their teams – are HR Heroes in every sense, and I am sure we will all join in celebrating their very tangible achievements in transforming organizational culture, in their thoughtful reinvention of the employee experience, and in a sensitive reframing of wellbeing and inclusion that is truly fit for purpose at the current time.”

Irresistible 2022, running May 23-25, is the first event of its kind. Hosted at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, the employee-centric global HR event has brought together HR leaders from the world’s top brands to candidly discuss their experiences of how they adapted and reinvented the employee experience, and to share pioneering best practice, as workplaces around the world continue to reinvent themselves in the face of lasting disruption triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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