Target touts diversity gains, pledges to hire more Black employees
The year 2020 has been great for Target from a sales standpoint. It has not, however, been a banner year for the retailer’s Minneapolis hometown, which found itself at the center of a national movement for racial equality and police reform following the death of George Floyd while in the custody of officers in the city.
A Target store located across the street from protests in Minneapolis was looted, even as the vast majority of those protesting did so peacefully. Target went on to shorten operating hours or temporarily close locations as anger over Mr. Floyd’s death and those of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others built momentum for change in America.
Target CEO Brian Cornell has pledged that his company will be part of that change in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death. Yesterday, Target announced plans to increase the numbers of Black employees it hires by 20 percent over the next three years.
“A diverse workforce and inclusive environment not only creates a stronger team, but also provides the perspectives we need to create the products, services, experiences and messages our guests expect,” Melissa Kremer, chief human resources officer, said in a statement. “The next step in this journey is being even more transparent with our progress.”
Fifty percent of Target’s 350,000 employees are people of color and more than half are women, according to the retailer’s “Workforce Diversity Report.” Twenty-four percent of the company’s leadership team are people of color and 42 percent are women. Nearly half of Target’s board of directors are Black or Latino and a third are women. One-third of stores are managed by people of color and more than half of stores have women in management positions.
Target said it will increase its “focus on advancement, retention and hiring” and identified five areas where it will direct its attention:
- Providing pathways for Black employees to develop their skills and advance upward within the organization;
- Developing programs to hire and retain Black workers in areas where they are currently underrepresented, including in data sciences, technology, merchandising and marketing;
- Increasing its internal network of mentors and sponsors to help Black team members advance in their careers;
- Ensuring that the company’s benefits program and corporate sponsorships contribute to the safety and wellness of Black employees;
- Conducting educational training for team leaders and employees that addresses bias and creates an environment of inclusion.
- Target Releases Workforce Diversity Report; Plans to Increase Representation of Black Team Members Across the Company by 20 Percent over Three Years – Target Corporation
- Retail ensnared in nationwide protests – RetailWire
- Walmart sells inclusivity at its annual shareholder meeting – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What will Target’s commitment to the hiring, retention and advancement of Black employees mean to its brand? Do you think having a greater representation of Blacks, Latinos and women in Target’s workforce will change the company in any significant way in the years to come?