Target exec says "truth hurts" in response to employee's scathing criticism

Categories: Target
This building isn't a fun place to work, a mid-level Target Corp. employee says.
Gawker's Hamilton Nolan has made a cottage industry out of publishing Target-bashing emails sent to him by unnamed Target Corp. employees in recent years, so it wasn't surprising to see him run another one yesterday in a post entitled, "Target Headquarters 'In Desperate Need of Help,' Says Employee."

What is somewhat surprising, however, is that a Target exec directly responded to his company's latest unflattering leak on LinkedIn, of all places. (We can't remember the last time a LinkedIn post made news, if ever!)

See also:
A City Pages retrospective on CEO Gregg Steinhafel's controversial tenure

The email published by Gawker was written by "a current mid-level employee at Target's headquarters in Minnesota," to use Nolan's words.

"The Target culture is very Minnesota - it's very passive aggressive," the employee writes. "They expect you to conform to them, to be 'Targetized' and drink the Koolaid. If you aren't super bubbly, super social and passive aggressive, you get told that you're a problem. Being direct, wanting to actually get your work done, asking questions and pushing back are all viewed as bad things and you'll be told to tone it down or you'll be pushed out."

Corporate culture aside, the employee says Target's business model is hopelessly behind the times.

"[Former CEO] Greg Steinhafel getting fired was a good step, along with the CIO being fired a few months ago, but it's not enough," the employee writes. "The entire executive team with the exception of the [Chief Marketing Officer] Jeff Jones needs to go. Why? Because everyone was homegrown and 'Targetized' and has no concept of how to run a 21st century business. They still think it's 1996 and you can keep throwing up Target stores and suburban moms will love them."

The employee predicts that if Target doesn't get its act together fast, it'll go the way of Pamida.

"If Target doesn't make a serious change in their leadership and culture, it will end up being a Kmart, a Sears, or even worse a Circuit City," the email says. "The Twin Cities would be devastated -- around 15,000 people work for Target HQ at one of their numerous sites in the Twin Cities. The local economy would be hit super hard. Sadly I don't see Target getting better, and I'm actively looking for employment elsewhere."

Yesterday, Target CMO Jones responded to all that in a LinkedIn post entitled, "The Truth Hurts." But instead of trying to make a case that the employee was mischaracterizing what's really going on at Target Corp., Jones took the criticism on the chin.

(For more, click to page two.)

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