How One Big Box Retailer Is Solving the Holiday Labor Crunch

Target will offer flexible scheduling, more hours to current employees and hire fewer seasonal workers.

September 27, 2021

Target Employees

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Amid an ongoing labor shortage, Target is cutting down on the amount of seasonal workers hired this holiday shopping season and is giving current store employees five million more hours, resulting in more than $75 million more in pay, according to a company press release. The retailer also announced a mobile scheduling app that allows employees to swap shifts with other workers.

“Our team continues to deliver time and time again, showing incredible resilience and flexibility to meet the needs of our guests. Years of investments have helped us build an operating model within our stores that benefits our team, delivers for our guests and drives our business,” said Mark Schindele, chief stores officer, Target.

Target says hourly employees are already working 15% more hours on average than they were a year ago, and store leaders will communicate with employees regularly on their schedules to understand their preferences and offer more hours if workers want them. Target also offers employees to train as backup in busy areas of the store, such as Order Pickup and Drive Up, and now Target is allowing all employees to train as backup, which results in 4-8 additional hours for workers.

Target still plans to hire 100,000 seasonal workers, compared with 130,000 in 2020 and 2019, reports CNBC.

Retail sales this holiday season should increase between 7% and 9% in 2021, according to Deloitte's annual holiday retail forecast, while e-commerce sales are projected to increase by 11-15% year over year. However, supply chain snarls will largely affect inventory surrounding the holiday season, and not just holiday foods and toys, but also basics such as coffee and footwear.

In August, Target offers a debt-free education assistance program, and Walmart and Amazon offer similar programs to workers.

Register to attend the 2021 NACS Show October 5-8 at McCormick Place in Chicago and take advantage of the education sessions on human resources, including these sessions developed by retailers for retailers: