Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members


Walmart associates around the world have stepped up to the front lines over the past months, meeting the evolving challenges of this unprecedented time with courage and strength. They are playing a critical role right now in keeping America “open” and functioning, supporting a supply chain that serves as a lifeline for our communities and families.

They are also, along with many others, experiencing high levels of stress as they work to take care of their communities and families. It’s a reminder of something that has always been true but is especially and urgently relevant now: we can’t help others effectively unless we first take care of ourselves. There’s a reason that in-flight safety presentations always instruct us to secure our own oxygen masks before helping others. Taking care of ourselves is the most essential thing we can do in order to care for others and perform at our peak.

Against this backdrop, Walmart and Thrive Global have launched a strategic initiative to help scale the work Walmart has been doing to support their associates, families and communities. As part of this effort, Thrive has acquired ZP — the Seattle-based company that has already helped tens of thousands of Walmart associates improve their health and well-being through the ZP Challenge, a 21-day digital journey that inspires Walmart associates to make small, better choices each day.

Together, we are now building on this robust foundation and leveraging Thrive’s behavior change technology to have an impact across Walmart’s community of 2.2 million associates and their families, while also exploring extending it to Walmart’s network of consumers and partners.

This new collaboration is built around an idea that both Walmart and Thrive have been championing for years — that every individual has the power to transform their life every day through a combination of small, healthier choices and peer-to-peer inspiration.

The latest science tells us that sustainable behavior change is best achieved through these incremental changes (Thrive calls them Microsteps; Walmart and ZP call them Better Choices). By focusing on small, daily changes, rather than big, long-term outcomes, we build sustainable habits and grow our sense of self-efficacy. And by amplifying and celebrating authentic peer stories, we tap into the power of aspiration and relatable role models to inspire meaningful change in others. By combining these two tactics, we can help people achieve truly sustainable behavior change at scale.

Years of traditional, check-the-box health and wellness programs have yielded predictably modest results for individuals and businesses. They’ve also frequently only addressed part of the issue — focusing on just nutrition or just exercise or just meditation or just sleep without understanding the power of providing solutions for the whole human.

This pandemic has exposed a lack of societal preparedness to deal with global disruptions. It has revealed that individual well-being is not a nice to have, but an imperative for society. Physical well-being can support a strong immune system, while emotional well-being supports mental resilience and adaptability. This is true all the time, but all the more so in times of crisis.

That is why these times call for something more: a whole human approach that brings together the latest science, technology, compelling storytelling, and actionable Microsteps that empower people to make better choices. In addition to ZP’s proven pillars of Fit, Food, Family, and Money, Thrive will be adding the pillars of sleep, gratitude, and mental resilience.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Walmart and Thrive have already launched Thrive’s technology platform for over 100,000 distribution center workers, while also partnering to roll out Walmart Cares — a new initiative to support the well-being of associates and their families during the pandemic and beyond.

In this time of physical distancing, connecting with others and harnessing the power of partnership is more important than ever. As Walmart’s associates rise to the challenge of this time — and look ahead to the challenges and opportunities of the future — we’ll be giving them the tools and support to not only continue having an impact, but to take even better care of themselves along the way.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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