Tis the season… to start preparing for the season. Minneapolis-based retailer Target announced Thursday that it plans to hire 120,000 team members nationwide strictly for the upcoming winter gifting period.
Its hiring plan marks a 20 percent increase over last year’s hiring commitment for the same time period when it hired 100,000 temporary employees, which at the time had been a 40 percent jump over the prior year.
The continued growth of its holiday workforce comes weeks after Target reported its best same-store sales growth since 2005 during its second quarter.
“Coming off a strong second quarter, we’re anticipating a busy holiday season and want to make sure we have the right teams in place across all of our stores and distribution and fulfillment centers,” said Janna Potts, chief stores officer of Target, in prepared remarks. “Adding 120,000 people to our current team will make the holidays easier and more convenient for our guests.”
These employees will fill a variety of roles across Target’s 1,839 stores, as well as its 39 distribution and fulfillment centers. For the centers alone, 7,500 positions will be added, while the number of people assigned to help fulfill digital orders will be doubled from last year.
Also new this year is a redesigned onboarding process, intended to get seasonal hires best prepared at a faster clip than in the past.
Target’s seasonal hiring mark this year matches the number of staff Amazon brought in to aid operations across 33 states during the 2017 holiday season.
Fellow competitor Walmart chose not to hire seasonal-only employees in 2017, instead simply ramping up existing employees’ hours. Elsewhere in the industry, Texas-based JCPenney hired 40,000 additional hands.
This year, JCPenney will add approximately 39,000 seasonal staff members, far less than Target’s count, which also surpasses Macy’s. This week, the Ohio-based department store announced it will hire 80,000 employees for the holidays. Amazon has not yet announced its plans for 2018 seasonal staffing.
In addition to bringing in new blood for the holidays, Target will offer current staff extra hours based on their own availability. Experienced and new employees alike will benefit from Target’s team members investments, including wages, benefits and discounts.
Anyone hired after September 16 will be paid $12 an hour to start – though long-term, Target plans to bring minimum hourly wage to $15 by 2020. Benefits seasonal employees can tap into include a 10 percent discount at Target stores and online, an additional 20 percent merchandise wellness discount on certain healthy foods, increased pay on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and flexible schedules.
“This is my third holiday working at Target and I can’t wait to get back,” said Max Baez, a returning seasonal team member at Target’s Wilson Yard store in Chicago, in a statement. “I love having the extra cash and scheduling flexibility – but the best part is seeing the other team members at the store who have become my friends over the years.”
In sweetening the pot even more, Target has allocated more than $2 million to reward team members who contribute during the busy holiday season, under its appreciation program “work.win.give.” The program awards one randomly selected employee per store and distribution center with a $500 holiday gift card plus the chance to donate a separate $500 to the local community organization of their choice.
“This year, we’re thrilled to offer our new seasonal team members competitive pay,” said Stephanie Lundquist, Target’s chief human resources officer, “and introduce a fun new [appreciation program] that builds on our efforts to help team members take care of themselves, their families and their communities during the holidays.”