Walmart says it's testing higher wages for newly created hourly positions at 500 of its U.S. stores as part of an overall strategy to better empower its staff. 

The nation's largest private employer says it will raise the starting hourly wages to $12 from $11 for the new roles. 

These workers will be trained and empowered to develop broader retail skills. 

They'll help solve problems like inventory issues instead of only completing tasks given to them by managers. 

RELATED: This cargo-carrying robot that can follow you to the store is now for sale

RELATED: Which stores have the most recycled Black Friday deals in 2019

The moves come as Walmart, like many other retailers, is under pressure to improve customer service as they fight online behemoth Amazon.

Walmart still lags behind other retail rivals. Target, which currently offers a $13 per hour starting wage plans to raise its starting hourly wages to $15 by the end of 2020. 

According to Bloomberg, the new wages will be in the 500 Walmart stores that have introduced the company's new operating model, budded the "Great Workplace."