As laid off workers streamed out of Target corporate buildings toting white boxes Tuesday, several remaining Target employees tweeted farewells.
Target announced Tuesday that 1,700 employees are out of work. Another 1,400 open positions will go unfilled.
In a statement detailing the layoffs, Target said, "Our goal is to treat all affected team members with the respect they deserve."
The key audience for that message, experts say, is the employees returning to work Wednesday, because they will be closely watching how management treats departing colleagues.
Target is spending $100 million on severance to soften the blow to departing employees. That's nearly $60,000 for each laid off employee, who will receive 15 weeks of pay, plus additional severance based on years of service.
Spokeswoman Molly Snyder said the company will also provide career outplacement support and access to free executive education courses, and will pay the employer portion of benefits for the next six months.
But Kathy Northhamer, of the Robert Half recruitment firm, said no matter how respectful the process or generous the severance, layoffs will affect those who get to keep their jobs. That means employees need to feel secure as soon as possible, said Mark Sheffert, chairman and CEO of Manchester Companies, a firm that advises companies on layoffs.
"To the extent that they can communicate that ... there aren't going to be any subsequent layoffs in the near future, that really helps them in terms of making employees feel less angst and making them more productive," Sheffert said.
But Target has kept mum on whether the slashing of 3,100 jobs is the end or beginning of its restructuring plan.
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