- Target is changing the way its stores operate across the country.
- This process – referred to internally as "modernization" – involves the elimination of a few shifts, both overnight and in the background, as well as changes in warehousing processes. The changes are designed to increase the team's availability to help guests on the ground, Target confirmed.
- In August 2018, a 54-page rollout guide was sent to Target's executives and executives to create a "culture of efficiency".
- Business Insider talked to over 50 former and current Target employees, many of whom said that the modernization program had changed their business for the worse, making their work unbearably stressful.
- For more information, visit the Business Insider homepage.
The goal is to change the way the business works.
Current and former employees, however, say the practical impact of the changes is below expectations.
"The path to activating a sales culture with knowledgeable, experienced and passionate teams that combine service and mission is well advanced," says the Implementation Guide for sorting and stocking apparel and accessories in the back room. A former senior executive on an East Coast Target received this 54-page rollout guide in August 201
This worker and others – some current and some former employees – spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
Read More: In some stores, the target quietly ended in night shifts, and employees said their workload had become "chaotic" as they tried to keep up.
The guide outlines details of a new warehouse system that workers say is part of Target's larger refurbishment efforts. This new storage process involves unloading trucks, sorting goods and storing shelves on the sales floor. Business Insider talked to over 50 former and current Target employees, many of whom said that the modernization program has changed their business for the worse, making their work unbearably stressful and, in some cases, unsafe.
Target confirmed some security risk and overnight shifts were eliminated in stores across the country. Many other workers said that they are forced to close the gap, with fewer people working behind the scenes for certain jobs as they try to keep up with the workload they did not originally sign up for. In addition to changes in warehouse processes, this has led to problems for employees at Target stores across the country.
A New Method for Sorting and Storing
"This is a call to action with the goal of consistency in all store backrooms in all over 1,839 stores," states the rollout guide. In general, the document describes how target group employees should manage their own business units and be responsible for various warehouse tasks, in addition to assisting guests. Some highlights of the guide say that:
- A thorough sorting process from the moment the truck arrives – referred to as a "super-sort" – needs to be carried out by six to seven employees.
- Wooden platforms – called pallets – are not used on the retail space.
- All sortings take place in the back room.
- Employees are expected to assist guests with warehousing and return trash and non-stored items to the back room as needed.
"Super-Sort" process is what has caused many problems in the back room, said the former employee who shared the rollout guide. However, the new process requires more detailed unloading and sorting directly from the truck, which takes more time so the employees.
"Sorting on the retail space in front of our guests will be a thing of the past, and warehousing teams, including clothing, will be able to process products faster than ever, prioritizing interactions with guests," It says in the Implementation Guide says.
In other words, Target hoped to sort the products in the back room more efficiently, leaving more time for other tasks on the sales floor. But this ultimately led to more work, the staff said.
"There was just twice as much work," said the former Target Manager. "And the same payroll was specified by the head office because the payroll depends on the number of boxes and not on changing the process."
In a statement, Target mentioned that the company partnered with almost every single member to discuss their availability and scheduling preferences before implementing changes last summer. "Then we used that information – in combination with all of our human resources needs – to create schedules for individual team members," the spokesman said.
The target spokesman also said that on average employees worked slightly more hours this year than three years ago. "Since 2017, we've invested millions of extra hours each year to make sure more team members are available to serve our guests," the spokesman said.