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Target Announces Diversity Plans To Increase Number Of Black Employees By 20%

Companies all across the country have been put under fire in recent months as the Black Lives Matter movement has been mainstreamed, prompting consumers to call on their favorite brands to step up their inclusion and advocacy for racial justice. 

This Thursday, Target pledged to increase the amount of Black employees across its entire workforce by 20% over the next three years. Target has around 350,000 employees in America, a majority of which are white, especially in their executive and leadership positions. 75% of its leadership team is White and 8% is Black; based on data from 2019. 

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When it comes to the retailer’s overall workforce – including part-time employees – 50% are White, 25% Latino, and 15% are Black; making up the top three groups. Within their pledge, however, Target also mentioned their many previous initiatives to increase representation within their stores and in their corporate offices. They claimed to have doubled their representation of non-White officers in the past five years; equating to about 30%. However, only 5% of that population is Black. 

Target also mentioned how now more than half of their stores are run by women and a third are managed by people of color, however, during a movement that is heavily focused on the injustices Black individuals face on a daily basis, consumers aren’t satisfied with the minimal effort they believe Target has put forward. Chief human resources officer for Target, Melissa Kremer, recently posted a news release regarding Target’s new pledge for inclusivity. 

“Inclusivity is a deeply rooted value at Target and we’ve had an ambitious diversity and inclusion strategy for many years for our guests and team. We know that having a diverse workforce and inclusive environment creates a stronger team.”

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Kremer went on to claim that Target would be emphasizing its recruitment and hiring of Black employees and look for new ways to advance their careers once they join the company. Anti-racist training will be implemented as well as new diversity programs that will focus on things like technology, merchandising and marketing; all aspects of Target’s corporate culture that’s mainly run by White individuals. 

Target is no stranger to publicly advocating for issues of social justice. They’ve made public statements telling customers not to carry guns in stores and welcomed all transgender customers to use their bathrooms and changing rooms whenever they need; which caused conservative groups to boycott the brand. 

After George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis Police this year, Target CEO Brian Cornell and other top executives released a statement expressing their pain over Floyd’s death, and made a call for change. He joined a subcommittee of the Business Roundtable to look for new policy recommendations that would directly address the issues with US law enforcement as well as create more opportunities for individuals who were previously incarcerated and looking for work. 

Other retailers joined target in this initiative by donating to civil rights causes and setting new standards when it comes to hiring and recruiting employees in the future. 

Walmart Store

Walmart Teams Up With Microsoft In A Bid To Buy TikTok 

Walmart announced this week that they would be collaborating with Microsoft in a bid to acquire TikTok. Currently ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company which is based in Beijing, is nearing an agreement to sell its American, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand operations in a deal that’s projected to earn the company up to $30 billion. 

Walmart and Microsoft are just one team placing a bid for the app in America, as many are looking to take advantage of buying one of the most popular social media platforms in 2020. Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove recently spoke with the media, and while he denied to comment on how the two companies would be dividing their ownership of the app, he claims this acquisition would be an amazing opportunity for both companies to compete against other giant corporations such as Amazon. 

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Walmart and Amazon have been competing as major “superstore” type retailers for years now. In fact, Walmart recently announced plans to launch its own membership program similar to Amazon Prime, called Walmart+, which will also include original content. 

“We believe a potential relationship with TikTok US in partnership with Microsoft could add this key functionality and provide Walmart a way to reach and serve omnichannel customers as well as grow our third-party marketplace and advertising businesses.”

Walmart went on in their statement to also claim that they were confident in their ability to meet both the expectations of current TikTok users, and the US government; who has recently been attacking TikTok for its potential sharing of personal data with China; which has not been proven. 

In the US, TikTok currently has around 100 million active users. When compared to the amount of users the app had in 2018 there’s an 800% increase in use. Daniel Ives, managing director and technology analyst, claims that there’s a 90% chance TikTok will accept the bid from Microsoft and Walmart, and the acquisition of the app will be a major step in Walmarts constant expansion of services. 

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This will not be the first time Walmart and Microsoft work together either. In 2018, Walmart announced a five-year “cloud deal” with Microsoft, allowing the retailer to adopt Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure and include bundles in certain devices that would include Office 365 with every purchase. 

After TikTok was under major threat of being banned by Donald Trump and his administration, the app knew it had to find a new buyer so that the app would remain alive in one of its most lucrative markets worldwide. The Pentagon has already banned TikTok from being downloaded on any government-issued devices due to security concerns; the US House of Representatives and Senate were also ordered to follow suit. 

Despite the many allegations from Trump himself, TikTok has went on record multiple times that they have never shared personal data with China, it’s parent company, or any other company for that matter. They then explained how TikTok is run within each country it’s available, and all US user data is stored in the US. 

There’s no real timeline as to when TikTok will accept or deny Microsoft and Walmart’s bid, however, with the 2020 election getting closer, it’s likely the app will make a decision sooner rather than later in order to keep it alive. 

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The Differences Between America’s Working Culture and the Rest of the World

When looking for a new position in your career, the salary is usually one of the first things a prospective employee looks at, closely followed by how well they can further their career thanks to the opportunities they believe will be created. However recent reports show that maybe we should be looking at how America’s corporate culture could be affecting those looking for employment.

Other countries wildly consider America as one of the forerunners in many areas of business yet our work habits are being seen as ‘”oppressive.”

A series of reports has highlighted the fact that many Americans are now dealing with a much longer work week compared to their colleagues abroad. While we are happy to spend longer hours at our desks – as well as eating on the go, losing out on vacation time as well as continuing to work on emails or reports long after we have left the office – the rest of the world has moved on.

In other countries it is seen as normal to have between 20 to 30 days of paid leave, as well as paid parental leave – for both parents –, as well as having the maximum hours you are allowed to work in a week set by law. Some countries are even trying to get the “right to disconnect” brought into law to stop employees being contacted via phone calls and emails once they’ve clocked out.

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While many Americans can be seen working an average 47 hour week, those in Europe have stricter controls. The Working Time Directive, implemented in 1993, has seen employees in the European Union only allowed to work a maximum of 48 hours per week, although those working in Germany will usually work around 35 hours per week. Many Europeans also believe longer working hours are ineffective as it allows you to linger longer on work rather than getting it done in an efficient time frame.

Vacations are another area that varies comparatively. While the US offers employees around two weeks of paid leave each year, nearly 50% of them do not take it. Compare this to countries such as Sweden, where they are currently entitled to five weeks paid annual vacation, you can understand why America is seen as having a corporate culture that is stuck in the dark ages.

Another major difference is parental leave. While America has decided to leave the decision of how long new parents are allowed to take off to the individual company, other countries have laws set to ensure all new parents get time to bond with their new born baby. For example, if you were to have a child in Finland the mother can take maternity leave from as early as seven weeks before the child is due, with a further 16 weeks after the birth, and it’s not just the moms. Finland’s fathers are also entitled to eight weeks of paid leave. Although these options are on offer to all parents, it is worth noting that not all take the leave.

While it may appear that America has a more industrious approach to business compared to a seemingly more relaxed approach around the world, this is not the case as there are also many similarities as well as differences.

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Obviously most employees will want to produce the best work possible while collaborating with colleagues across the office, country or world. So how can we break down these barriers and make the American workforce a place many will want to continue working in?

First of all, it’s good practice to only employ workers who not only have the same passions for the company as the majority of the team, but who also actually want to be there. By having employees that are happy at work, the work should theoretically be done in the required time, meaning your staff can go home happy at 5pm on a Friday, knowing they will not need to be contacted again until they come back in at 8am on a Monday morning.

It is also important for all annual leave to be taken. With nearly half of our workforce not taking their leave – whether it is for personal reasons or because work pressures cannot allow it – sickness, both physically and mentally, can increase. By enforcing your holiday time with colleagues they should be back at work refreshed meaning they will provide a more productive working environment.

Ensure that communication between colleagues – as well as supervisors, managers and directors – are open meaning that if there are problems in the workplace they should feel happy to discuss them with someone higher up the ladder than them. By resolving problems when they arise you should stop them getting bigger in the future.

By respecting everyone’s culture, regardless of where they are from, we should be able to finally bring our draconian culture into the twenty first century.