Target holiday hiring points to changing HR priorities
Target’s announcement yesterday about its hiring plans for the Christmas selling season points to how staffing needs have changed for retailers in recent years with more sales being processed online. It also suggests that Target, at least, wants to get out front recruiting prospective employees in a relatively tight labor market.
This holiday season, Target plans to hire 70,000 seasonal workers for its stores, the same figure as the past four years. Management also plans to add another 7,500 to work in distribution and fulfillment centers, more than the company brought on last year.
The addition of the warehouse workers is based on management’s belief the company will see a “mega-high volume of online orders” this holiday season.
Some of the store hires will also be engaged in the online process. According to the retailer, about 30 percent of sales made on Target.com are either picked up in stores or shipped from one.
Target will have plenty of company looking for seasonal help. The chain plans to hold hiring events on Oct. 14 and 15 at all its stores. Target has set up a page online to tell interested prospects about the hiring event and available jobs for the holiday season.
“We can’t wait to welcome new seasonal team members on board to help us make the holidays extra bright for our guests” said Janna Potts, chief stores officer, Target, in a statement. “And new this year, all of our 1,800 stores will host dedicated hiring events in October, meeting with thousands of prospective candidates in just 48 hours.”
While Target was putting its best foot forward to prospective employees, the chain was quick in its announcement to make clear that current workers would get first dibs at additional hours during the holiday season.
Retail industry hiring levels for the 2016 Christmas selling season are expected to remain in line with last year, according to the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.
CEO John Challenger told the Chicago Tribune that Target’s plans are in line with the industry as a whole as more human resources are dedicated to fulfilling online orders while fewer are directed to conventional duties in stores.
- Hiring for the Holidays! Target’s Looking for More Than 70,000 Team Members to Make Shopping Season Magic – Target Corporation
- Seasonal Positions – Target Corporation
- Target’s holiday hiring growth not coming from sales floor – Chicago Tribune
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How do you see seasonal hiring shaping up for Christmas 2016? Given the growth of e-commerce, how do you expect retail holiday hiring will have changed five years from now?
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10 Comments on "Target holiday hiring points to changing HR priorities"
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I think hiring for all retailers will be difficult this holiday season. Help Wanted signs have plastered the windows of nearly all retailers for quite a while. With the labor shortages, where do retailers expect to find temporary workers? Retailers will have no choice but to replace labor with automation. Our government will need to find ways to allow people to work without impacting their entitlement benefits. Maybe in five years we will see change.
Principal, Cathy Hotka & Associates
As retail tasks become more complex, retailers will be challenged to hire more sophisticated workers who’ll cost more per hour. I think we’ll see new employment constructs that go beyond traditional full-time or part-time employment, to attract better-educated people who don’t fall into the usual buckets.
President, b2b Solutions, LLC
I expect seasonal hiring levels for store employees to grow slightly. As David indicated, the race for seasonal employees is on as the labor market has tightened.
As evidenced by Target, more of the total seasonal employees will be working either at retailers’ warehouses or processing and fulfilling BOPIS orders. This trend will continue to grow as more and more consumers gain comfort with ordering online.
Principal, Frank Riso Associates, LLC
Today we see a slight decrease in the number of seasonal help being hired for the stores. The same number was reported last year, however there are more stores this year. So we are already seeing a slight increase in the number for online shopping. In five years it may be a complete reversal. My prediction is that sales in the stores will equal online shopping in five years!
Professor, International Business, Guizhou University of Finance & Economics and University of Sanya, China.
Various reports had 2015 holiday store traffic dropping anywhere from 8 percent to a whopping 15 percent. No matter what the number is for 2016 it will continue in one direction — down.
Unfortunately, many retailers will be hiring by the wishin’ and hopin’ strategy, but the reality is that they will need fewer associates on the floor. The reverse of course is happening to everything online. They will need more to service those customers. And that includes a need for warehouse people who become every bit as important as the salesperson on the floor.
The retailer must change their mindset and, in this case, it sounds as if Target is moving there.
CEO, The Customer Service Rainmaker, Rainmaker Solutions
Dear Target HR staff,
Okay … hire what you think you are going to need. But I don’t understand why more effort is not being shown on the sales floor where you are weak to begin with. I am beginning to think this announcement was made to impress us more than hire us.
Confused and unsure.
Content Marketing Manager, Surefront
Working retail is an increasingly dire proposition. As more purchases take place online and increasingly fewer happen in-store, retailers continue to hold sales associates accountable for achieving the sales standard from years prior. Nobody wants to be held to a standard that can’t be achieved, so it is increasingly difficult to hire and retain quality people.
It seems all retailers are hiring today, but few of these are offering realistic sales goals, or a dynamic workday. Good employees want to be busy, not to stand. The job description of the retail associate needs to evolve with the market.
For many young workers today, the goal is to get a job. Doing the job is not part of the plan. In a fast paced world, companies need a fast exit process for employees who don’t work out. Don’t let new hires who eventually won’t cut the mustard sit in a 40 hour orientation program and then disappoint you for 90 days before showing them the door. I would move to a one day a week orientation program. The rest of the time would be spent on the floor with several experienced workers allowing for a 10 day assessment that could result in a termination. A decision would be based on a daily assessment that determines if skill levels are achieved.
Your valued long-term employees will thank you. Lazy coworkers demoralize your dedicated staff. Working with an unproductive new hire for 90 days may lead them to believe the slower pace and sloppy work is the new norm and they my adjust their productivity accordingly.
Contributing Editor, RetailWire; Founder and CEO, Vision First
Retailers, like all companies, must find a new approach to talent. Given the changes in all of our lifestyles, employment needs to be more flexible, satisfying and (gasp) enjoyable.