Target offers employees twice the available work hours and more flexibility in bid to retain workers ahead of the holidays

Target store outside

A worker collects shopping carts in the parking lot of a Target store on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. David Zalubowski/AP

  • Target announced it’s changing up its staffing model to give workers more flexible work schedules.

  • The company says it will be hiring about 30,000 fewer seasonal employees ahead of the holiday season.

  • High employee turnover spurred by COVID-19 pandemic-era demands continue to stress retailers across the country.

  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Target is gearing up for the 2021 holiday season by hiring fewer seasonal workers than last year, and instead re-investing in it existing workforce, the company announced Thursday.

The retail giant is offering its over 300,000 current team members 5 million more hours during the holidays. The additional hours may account for an additional $75 million in total paycheck earnings for those employees and could potentially double some employees weekly hours if they choose to pick them up, it said in a statement.

The company says it will hire 23% fewer seasonal team members this year – about 100,000 total hires compared to over 130,000 the last two years.

“We are offering more hours to team members who want them,” said Melissa Kremer, Target’s chief human resources officer, in the statement. “When we invest in and care for our team we know that guest service improves, turnover goes down and team members can more easily build rewarding careers at Target.”

While employees quitting their jobs and labor shortages have been plaguing a wide swath of the retail industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kremer told CNBC that over the past two years, turnover at Target has fallen to a five-year low. The company declined to specify that rate for 2021, but said turnover is slightly higher than last year.

Hourly employees are working 15% more hours total than they were a year ago, the company said on Thursday.

Target has tried several incentives this past year to support its employees during periods of high turnover in the retail and hospitality industry, including $500 minimum bonuses in January to offering debt-free undergraduate degree assistance to its workers. The retailer also bumped up its minimum wage from $13 to $15 an hour in 2020.

Target also introduced a mobile scheduling app to its employees this summer, which the company intends to build on leading into the holiday season. The technology allows management to check-in on hourly team members, who in turn can manage their scheduling preferences and work “on-demand,” picking up additional work hours with more ease.

A number of industries have been hit by the ongoing labor crisis as well as shortages in goods and order delays. Major retail as well as delivery companies like UPS and FedEx are beefing up their logistics teams to support online shopping orders.

Other major retailers have already begun announcing their big holiday hiring pushes. Macy’s is looking to hire 76,000 workers, including 48,000 seasonal employees, the company said on Wednesday. Walmart said in August that it was looking to hire 20,000 permanent supply chain workers in preparation for the holiday season.

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