Does Target need to address its associate morale problem?
With its traffic, sales and profit growth, Target has been one of the great retail success stories of recent years. That doesn’t mean that CEO Brian Cornell and company do not have things to work on. One area where Target may need greater focus is associate relations. While the retailer has earned kudos for its commitment to higher wages for workers in its stores, some of those same associates say the chain has cut their shifts, costing them pay, endangering their eligibility for the company’s health insurance coverage and making it generally more difficult to do their jobs properly.
CNN reports that it has interviewed 23 current and former employees of Target in recent months who said they actually are bringing home less than they did before the retailer began raising its hourly pay. The chain has pledged to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour by the end of next year.
“I got that dollar raise but I’m getting $200 less in my paycheck. I have no idea how I’m going to pay rent or buy food,” said Heather, an associate working in a Target store in Florida. The associate’s last name was withheld so that she would speak openly about her situation. She reported being scheduled to work fewer than 20 hours some weeks in recent months after having worked nearly full-time hours when she started last November.
A report by Business Insider last month said that Target has ended overnight shifts in some stores, putting increased pressure on daytime workers to take on additional duties with less time to complete the tasks. While some overnight workers shifted to daytime hours, others had to leave Target to find jobs that fit their personal schedules.
Reports of associate hours being cut is not unusual among retail chains that have increased wages in recent years. Walmart and others have had similar charges leveled against them after announcing pay increases for hourly workers. Sam’s Club caused some head scratching last year when it announced plans to close 63 clubs, resulting in job losses, on the same day that its parent company, Walmart, said it was handing out one-time bonuses to between $200 and $1,000 to eligible employees while raising the hourly minimum wage to $11 an hour.
- Target raised wages. But some workers say their hours were cut, leaving them struggling – CNN
- Target quietly ended overnight shifts in some stores, and employees say their workload has become ‘chaotic’ as they try to keep up – Business Insider
- Should retail rivals see Amazon’s $15 minimum wage and raise it $1? – RetailWire
- Will Costco’s new $15 minimum wage hurt or benefit the chain? – RetailWire
- How should retailer employers prepare for Gen Z workers? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do hourly associates have a legitimate grievance in connecting fewer shift hours with recent pay increases or are there other factors at work? How should retailer employers respond in circumstances such as this?