Life after the Target layoffs

How small and midsize companies can benefit from the influx of former Target employees into the market

By Nora Poole
Monday, March 16, 2015

Last week, Target dealt a major blow to the Twin Cities workforce, laying off 1,700 of its corporate employees. In addition, the company will not fill 1,400 previously open jobs. While the downsize has certainly been devastating for many, there may be a silver lining to 1,700 Target former employees hitting the job market. Small and midsize companies in the metro area can look forward to an influx of well-trained, experienced talent into the market. For local companies looking to add to their teams, now is the time. We talked to Paul Beard, CPC and founding partner at SkyWater Search Partners, a Minnetonka-based executive search firm, to hear about the positive side to the layoffs.

According to Beard, employers should be scrambling to hire former Target employees for the simple reason that Target has a long history of savvy hiring and excellent employee training. “Target is known in a very positive light [in the local recruiting industry] for its quality hiring and training practices,” he explains. “The organization development practices [implemented there] are thought of as some of the best in the business.” The bottom line? “They train and hire great people,” Beard says.

Not only does Target hire well and invest time training their employees, Beard continues, those employees tend to go on to do well in future jobs. “Many people who have spent time working [at Target] have tended to flourish at their next employer,” he says.

Furthermore, employees of a corporate environment as large and structured as Target may welcome the change of pace that would come with working for a small or midsize company.

“The nimbleness of a smaller, more entrepreneurial environment may be viewed favorably by those who came out of the very structured environment at Target,” Beard notes. Those former Target employees looking to expand their opportunities for creativity and decision making at work would certainly be an asset to the local small business scene.

“Most [smaller] companies don’t have as many layers of management as Target has,” Beard says, “which also allows for people to go elsewhere and spread their wings with greater responsibility.” Those employees who got their careers off to a good start at Target, in other words, may just be waiting for the opportunity to go above and beyond in ways that Target's corporate structure didn't easily allow.

Ultimately, employers should be leaping at the opportunity to hire former Target employees. “I would encourage internal recruiting and HR teams at other companies to go out of their way to hire people who were affected by the downsize,” Beard says.