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Walgreens Boots Alliance

Stefano Pessina

Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

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Summary of Initiative

As a community pharmacy, we need great talent that reflects the communities where we operate. We’ve found creative ways to partner with external nonprofit agencies and to tap into our own colleagues’ experiences and expertise as we attract and empower people who can make a difference for our customers.

The Need

Walgreens Boots Alliance employs 360,000 people. In the United States alone, we have 247,000 employees, many of them working in our Duane Reed or Walgreens stores. We’re a community pharmacy, and the care that our employees offer our patients is the foundation of our company and a key reason people choose to visit our stores.

The Solution

To maintain this competitive advantage, we continually look for opportunities to attract and engage diverse, talented people. Here are four examples:

In Chicago we have more than 140 retail stores and our corporate offices and headquarters. Since 2013, we’ve partnered with Skills for Chicagoland’s Future (SCF), a public-private partnership working to match businesses that have current, unmet hiring needs with qualified, unemployed/underemployed job seekers. We’re piloting a youth hiring initiative that involves a job readiness “boot camp,” hiring for entry- level store or pharmacy roles from communities of need, and the opportunity to earn industry-recognized credentials. Our goal is to help address the youth unemployment crisis by creating a best-in-class, scalable model promoting employment, education, careers and improved health outcomes.

Internally, we have nine highly active Business Resource Groups: employee think-tanks that help us retain and advance our best talent while driving diversity and inclusion through their advocacy. For example, our Women at Walgreens group is focused on providing developmental opportunities for women so that we can hire, develop, retain and promote women and other diverse talent.

Walgreens has long created opportunities for people with disabilities through industry-leading policies and practices. Our “same job, same performance” model applies across our distribution network, retail stores, support center and field operations. More than 900 team members in our distribution centers self-identified as individuals with disabilities in 2016. And more than 1,300 individuals with disabilities have completed retail and customer service skills training in our stores since 2012.

Finally, working with nonprofit community partners, we’ve developed a unique temp-to-hire model. An important part is a 12-week Transitional Work Group, where attendees learn our culture, develop communication skills, train through simulations and gain practical experience. Once they achieve a 90 percent productivity level — which almost all do — they’re eligible for hire.

Partnerships and Enabling Public Policies

Our partnerships with SCF and a range of nonprofit community partners have helped us source and engage talented people in our stores and distribution centers.


Since 2014, we’ve hired more than 35 candidates through SCF, and our current pilot will help us access great talent for the future, providing a proof of concept for other businesses.