Target’s “Modernization” is Basically “Branch Transformation” for Big Box

In news that broke last week (, it seems that many Target employees have not been happy about the new “Modernization” effort that the Big Box retailer has been implementing.

This is newsworthy for Retail Bankers who are struggling through or at least considering a Branch Transformation effort of their own. Nobody ever said that transformation is easy, but it’s often the right thing. And doing the right thing can be challenging, to say the least.

You see, Target’s “Modernization” effort is really a Big Box version of retail banking’s “Branch Transformation” efforts with two main anchor points: 1) a new design model, which, 2) allows for a better environment in which employees are better suited to sell (or at least consult).

If you’ve spoken to us lately, or attended our recent speaking engagements, LEVEL5 has been actively discussing Target’s revitalization – an effort to bring better shopping experiences to their customers. While the Business Insider article primarily talks about employee complaints regarding backrooms and stocking procedures, the takeaways here for Retail Bankers should be this:

Change Is Disruptive

People just don’t like change. You can only move someone’s cheese so much before they revolt. If you read between the lines and understand what Target is trying to do, it actually makes sense. Trader Joes, for example, has utilized their store staff as both stockers and sellers for a long time. It has been well documented how these “universal associates” are omni-present, not only making sure the shelves are full of product and aesthetically pleasing, but also making sure to answer any questions shoppers may have.

Training Guides Only Get You Halfway There

It does make sense to have a training guide, documenting the reasoning, end goal, and tactical elements to get Target through “Modernization.” But training guides are just that – guides. It’s black ink on white paper and undoubtedly some pretty pictures. At the time of this article, LEVEL5 has not seen the guide, but we know a thing or two about transforming branches and have developed our fair share of guides, but they are meant to be a visual aid to the real transitioning element – training.

People Training Completes the Mission

If you were given the definitive guide to Fly Fishing, had the best gear in the world and put in the middle of the the most productive stream running through Yellowstone, but you were not trained on casting, tying knots, or setting the hook, how many trout do you think you’d catch?

Being shown how to do something in a real world setting is key. Not only does it allow the tips to be put in action, but you can iron out the wrinkles with “practice makes perfect,” and allay any fears about the unknown.

We have executed countless training sessions with our PLACES! program, that not only speak to a Branch Transformation project including Universal Tellers, but also teach a branch staff how to effectively and accurately utilize new cash equipment, even the likes of Digital Signage.

I have no doubt that in the coming months, Target will figure this out. The new “Modernization” will be spoken of highly with better sales and happier employees (and customers) a part of it.

But change is tough and it needs to be handled delicately. If you’d like to learn more about the LEVEL5 PLACES! training program, contact us today.