Target Sucks - We Hate Target and We Know We're Not Alone.

November 16, 2014 - newattarget

New ETL here. Please give me all of your concerns.

So, I’ve just accepted a job at Target as an ETL and plan on working my way into HR because that is what my degree is concentrated in. My main focus for this job is to figure what needs to be changed so that our employees have high moral. I really like focusing on team development and would love for you all to share what you think needs to be improved. Now obviously I can’t make changes in all of the Target stores but I can at least start with one and as I work my way into HR I would have more leverage on trying to implement new ideas to help management be better.

Thanks you guys!


Employee Experience / TargetSucks


  • TargetSucks says:

    I approved this post, but don't ever post any identifiable information. I want you to be able to post the truth when everything goes to hell and you get frustrated trying to do anything different.

  • TargetGrunt says:

    Take some time to read through the posts on this site and you'll see what the problems are. If I had to pick one I'd say that the lackluster, stubborn, fresh-out-of-college-with-no-prior-experience management is one of the largest issues. You can't have individuals running entire processes if they have no idea how Target (or the retail industry in general) functions and have a piss-poor work ethic. The simplest solution would be to stop hiring college grads with no work history and instead promote TMs who have thorough knowledge of their work-centers and a strong work ethic. That way those who do try hard and put forth the effort are given the chance to advance instead of being overlooked by those with a diploma but nothing else.

    • Bombcar says:

      Definitely correct on the management feeling. My store also hosts our district office, so we generally run through ETLs like water through a sieve. But almost every one of those gives us the impression that those of us who have been at Target a long time (more than six years in my case - I opened the store I'm at) have to train them on how to do their jobs; this includes the summer ETL interns.

      The second is the ability to do the EXACT OPPOSITE of what an employee states. Two examples: when my store's first inventory was being prepped, I told the ETL-Logistics and the TL that my last job had been with RGIS, and as such I felt that I had valuable insight in the inventory process that they could utilize. Which means I've never done inventory prep.

      More recently when asked about availability I wrote down for the ETL-HR a note on the page that I am a night owl, and would like the overnight schedule. So I VOLUNTEERED to work overnight from the 27th to the 28th.

      I don't like to think I was ignored but it is funny how I am only working 4 hours on Black Friday, and 16.75 for the week. Yeah, I can pay my bills on that.

      Finally, if you want to improve morale you could try paying employees in ways that reflect their value better. Because I'm tired of comment cards from customers saying how wonderful I am, but then I only work between 20 and 25 hours a week, down from 30-35, and watching four years of my pay raises get eaten away by the last rise in the state minimum wage.

      One last thing: we are not "Team Members", teams are collaborative efforts. Nor do we "partner" on things, we are told what to do. Neither are customers "Guests" since "Guests" don't pay for things. This should be a good start.

      • Silverfox says:

        I think perhaps the issue from the various posts on here is that some don't need that many hours nor want them but the ones who want that many hours aren't getting them. There are some on here that want 14 or so hours. They don't want more than that but other people want the full 30 and 35 but aren't getting it. Perhaps you could fix that. Make a note of those who want that many hours and those who don't and schedule accordingly. This is probably something you might be able to have some control over.

        • newattarget says:

          From what I have noticed at the store I am at is that scheduling is a mess! What you are saying is true! I am definitely going to bring that up! Thank you!

      • newattarget says:

        Thank you! Morale is really something that I would love to help increase and I have noticed the terrible scheduling that has been going on. The fact that they didn't listen to you or utilize your experience and insight for the inventory process bothers me. Thank you again, I will try my best and see what I can do!

  • trashtalk says:

    You can't change things at TGT because it is all scripted for you, it is a top-down run company. You will not make your way into HR at store level unless you are considered STL material. That is why ETL-HR in-store is a joke, they are there to institute company policy not work for team members. And as Bombcar said, we are not collaborative teams, we are groups of employees that are told what to do as in "I am your Team Lead and you do what I say" I agree this unwritten policy of hire and promote the college-fresh just because they are fresh and cute only serves to solidify the line between 'leads' and 'members' How about start with corporate and their expectation that because the 'landowners' are happy the 'farmers' are too.

  • Silverfox says:

    i think the best bet for op to try to change things is work his way up into circles of the CEO and try to change things from there. The issue is the very top.

    Like the crazy idea it think it can win canadians back with cherry coke. Ok given the current ceo used to be pepsi ceo maybe he should push special pepsi products like pepsi throwback that's been hugely popular as well? >_< how about some target exclusive pepsi product?

  • littleavery1948 says:

    How experienced are you in retail? If you only have a degree with minimal or no experience, you are less qualified than I am, and I am a Flow Team Member for a UHV store. I have a college degree in Accounting and Mathematics WITH retail experience. I am a manager at non-retail organization (I was offered an ETL position, but I needed to stay local for my parents), but I have been in retail and retail supervisory roles for 10+ years. One of the largest problems is that many of our ETL's and STL's have the title, but have very little knowledge of how things work. Anyone can go through the 6-month training process and regurgitate what they have learned. My immediate TL's have been at Target for 10+ years, and they know the job well. Our STL has been at Target for 20+ years; this is acceptable.

    Other TL's and ETL's in our store have no idea what they are doing; they have an unbridled ego with incompetence to go with it. Many of them are talented at shouting orders; my five-year old nephew can do it with the best of them. I believe in leadership through example; I believe in leadership through competence, production, directing, motivating, training, and mobilizing. I believe that all leaders are responsible for having the never-ending thirst for knowledge and improvement. Many of these young TL's have no clue how to do these things. I often see them gossiping amongst one another; this is unacceptable. One of my TL's has a habit of yelling at us on the line; many have tuned him out; this has become very ineffective.

    I have to work both Thanksgiving morning and night for Black Friday. I don't mind it, yet I do. The powers that be have decided that opening at 6 PM is a brilliant idea. The problem is, there is not anything that is sacred anymore.....except the almighty dollar. If we have to work on Thanksgiving, then the corporate executives should also be required to work Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Unfortunately, they'll be on vacation, or on a golf course in some paradise. This is unacceptable to me. EVERYONE watches the leader; if the leader fails, so does the whole program. 90 percent of people can do any job with the proper training.

    As a leader, you need to make sure that you achieve optimal production from your team. You need to be able to deliver criticism but CONSTRUCTIVE criticism; using corrective action and termination will be appropriate at times; however, this should be at a minimum. Any public criticism or emotional criticism is unacceptable. Moreover, you need to reward your team when they perform well; constantly berating for never being efficient enough will not get your team to work more efficiently. You have to ensure that the morale of the team is at an optimal level; you must empower your team. Have short-term AND long-term goals; share them with your team. Cross-train your team members, especially when they are performing well and asked to be cross-trained. This creates a WIN-WIN-WIN situation. You win by having a productive employee who is eager to learn, and perform at optimal levels at all times. The employee wins by becoming empowered, and this employee will receive more hours as they will be coveted in certain situations. Lastly, this benefits the Team from a wholistic standpoint; some work centers will need more help than others at certain points. You need to use common sense; this means that adhering to policies and procedures is necessary; however, when extraneous solutions arise, you need to address those appropriately, even if it means deviating from P&P. There has to be flexibility. You also need to encourage free-thought; this was one of my biggest issues at Target when I made this handle. Many of us are programmed to be robots; no team member wants this. You must encourage free-thoughts; this is part of empowering and mobilizing your team. As a leader, I REQUIRE free-thought; there is nothing worse than having to hold someone's hand. On the other hand, you need to train your employees, and train them well. Do not be lazy about it; poorly trained employees are not happy, and they are not productive. It makes no sense to not train an employee, in whom you invested money, time, and resources. Poor training will reflect badly on the leader (aka, you). Most importantly (at least to me), you CANNOT be a micro-manager; there is nothing more unpleasant than working under such conditions (you may need to micro-manage a certain employee, or a certain task if the situation calls for it, but overall, DO NOT micro-manage). You do not need people to like you; you will encounter situations that will require a tough decision; however, you need to be concerned if people do not RESPECT your leadership. As a leader you must show respect to all employees; in turn, they will respect you. An employee who does not respect his leader will either quit, or do just enough to not be fired; this is not optimal performance, and multiple occurrences will have a negative and possibly fatal effect on your position. Lastly, DO NOT lie. Follow through on your promises; do not lie to your team about achievements; do not lie about numbers, and do not lie about the schedule. If your team knows you have lied, they will not trust you; why should they? A leader who is a liar is no leader at all, and it will be clear in both title and in following (I had to quit my previous job because my boss was a liar, and I had no trust or respect for her; many long-time employees resigned under her toxic leadership). Do not be a toxic leader.

    Although you will not be able to control this, but promoting from within is paramount; hiring leaders who have zero background is unacceptable and is not conducive to a Fast, Fun, and Friendly atmosphere; it is not conducive to optimal production. Reward those who show up to work and display a good work ethic. If you are short on hours, allocate the hours in such a way, that it reflects that more productive and reliable employees will receive the lion's share of the hours. The raises need to reflect productivity; 25 cent raises for people who work well is almost a slap in the face. 25 cent yearly raises are acceptable, but MERIT raises should be common. If I had it my way, I would give merit raises out often; however, I would also take back raises for those who slack off (merit raises only); this will motivate those who received merit raises to maintain their level of productivity, or even increase it (professional athletes often decline in productivity after a raise, or a large contract).

    I think that you will do well; coming to this site, and asking questions is a step in the right direction (doesn't have to be this site, but asking questions in general is a good idea; listening to others' ideas is paramount; a leader must be open to ideas. As the saying goes, two sets of eyes are better than one). Understand your duties; understand your employees; understand the culture, and always find ways to increase the knowledge of not only yourself, but your entire team. Take a big-picture approach, while paying attention to details. I hope that this helps.

    • newattarget says:

      Thank you so much for this!! Seriously, you gave a lot if really great advice! I saved this and is using parts of it for my meeting coming up on target management improvements! Thank you again! You've helped me a ton!

  • newattarget says:

    Thank you everyone that has responded! It honestly has helped a bit and I have been reading other threads about it! I will try my best and if it goes to hell, I will let you all know!

  • Silverfox says:

    Have fun lol

  • tpcstudios says:

    Pay people for their experience and stop moving people with no experience into management positions. There is no reason why a fresh out of college 22 year old with no work history should be fast tracked to an TL or ETL position. Get rid of the stupid you need a degree in order to be an ETL rule. If these two don't get fixed, I hope this business as a whole burns down.

  • Drihten says:

    Thank you for reaching out- I think that what you are doing is great, though I do not know how much success you will have, as Target is extremely large and set in its ways. I was an ETLGE, and I am NOT a recent graduate- I have ten years of experience in retail management, customer service and merchandising. All of the other ETLs I worked with did fit the "Baby" description.

    The biggest problem I faced was that there was absolutely NO job description- it was a very nebulous "manage your team", and nothing was ever explained. The training overall is a crapshoot as well, and this was my main complaint. Some ETLs get dropped into stores with very talented and experienced trainers, but unfortunately, more often than not, they are stuck with somebody that is not sure how to do their own job, let alone train someone. In my own experience, I spent 6 weeks pushing cafs because the store was so horribly understaffed. You may or may not be aware that pushing cafs is NOT WHAT AN ETL DOES ALL DAY.
    I do understand why so many people on this site hate their ETLs so much- most of us really have no idea what the hell we are doing because we are often undertrained and not given any kind of direction. We seem incompetent because we are forced on our team members to teach us the things that the company does not see the need to inform us of.
    Oh, and one final note- The technology is bullshit. There is no other way to say it. The registers are pieces of shit, nothing ever works, they shut down, and we all spend more time on the phone working with the utterly useless CSC team than working, Please, for the love of fuckall, either train the call center people in India how to fix our shit or just close those centers so we can speak to people that can understand us.
    I very much hope this helps you, and that you can make some sort of change.


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