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Retailer says it will increase Black workers



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The coronavirus pandemic has forced retailers to make adjustments for employee and customer safety.

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Target plans to increase the diversity of its workforce, pledging to grow its percentage of Black employees by 20% over the next three years.

The retailer announced the goal with plans to create programs to advance and retain staff Thursday. It also released a workforce diversity report, a detailed racial and gender breakdown of the company across all levels.

“We are really committed to building a team that represents our guests, that increases advancement opportunities and also reduces turnover for our team members of color,” Melissa Kremer, Target chief human resources officer, told USA TODAY.

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After George Floyd, a Black man, died under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis, where Target is headquartered, the company announced it was donating $10 million to “advance social justice and support rebuilding and recovery efforts in local communities.”

Target also created the REACH (Racial Equity Action and Change) committee last month to outline its commitment to racial equity.

To become more diverse and inclusive, Kremer said the next step is to become more transparent with sharing diversity data. In the past, Target didn’t provide a breakdown of different races and ethnic groups.

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“We believe that by conducting a deeper analysis of our data, we’re going to be able to make even more specific commitments,” Kremer said. “And, ultimately, that transparency and commitment will contribute to greater accountability and even more progress.”

According to Target’s diversity report, based on 2019 information, nearly half of the retailer’s workforce of nearly 350,000 are people of color with 15% Black, 25% Hispanic or Latinx and 5% Asian.

Of the leadership team, 42% are women and 24% are people of color — 8% are Black, another 8% Hispanic and 8% Asian.

Kiera Fernandez, Target human resources vice president, said more work is needed to increase representation of Black employees.

“We see the demographics and the dynamics of our country continuing to evolve,” said Fernandez, who also is the company’s chief diversity and inclusion officer. “We want to make sure that that our stores, our business model and our portfolio is evolving.”

Target raised the minimum wage for all U.S. hourly employees to $15 an hour in July.

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Target’s plans for change

Target says it is looking to make systemic changes to increase opportunities for Black workers. Some of the changes, the company outlined Thursday include:

  • Developing programs to hire and retain Black team members in career areas with low levels of representation, including technology, data sciences, merchandising and marketing.
  • Increasing Target’s network of mentors and sponsors to help Black team members accelerate and advance their careers.
  • Ensuring benefits and partnerships drive wellness and safety for Black team members.
  • Continuing anti-racism training for leaders and employees that “educate, build inclusion acumen, and foster a sense of belonging.”

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/09/10/target-diversity-inclusion-retailer-working-retain-advance-black-workers/5757365002/





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