It was around two years ago, in 2016, that Kimberly Clayton took a job as an employment specialist with Target Community & Educational Services Inc., a licensed agency that provides services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Clayton hadn’t been happy in her previous positions and had heard good things about the nonprofit, but as a single mother of two children, things weren’t working out for her in the new gig.
“The schedule wasn’t working for me,” she said. “They needed me to work on weekends, and it just wasn’t compatible for me having kids.”
Clayton really wanted to stay within the organization and when she spoke up, was delighted to learn Target wanted her to stick around, too.
“They said, ‘Hey instead of you being an employment specialist, how about you try being a job coach?’ ” she said. “They were really willing to work with me. That was huge.”
Target has a reputation for being a flexible, pleasant place to work that extends beyond Clayton and the immediate community: The nonprofit’s Carroll County office was recently honored with the When Work Works Award, bestowed by The Society for Human Resource Management, the largest human resources professional society, for the third year running.
“The award rewards effective and flexible workplaces,” Julie Develin, vice president of human resources at Target, said. “It’s really a testament to the culture of the organization.”
In practice, that means employees like Clayton are given the time they need to take care of their children, or perhaps aging parents, according to Develin.
“Our managers are very accommodating in terms of allowing staff time off when they need and as long as they need it,” she said, noting that in an era of high employment, this is not just a kind thing to do, but a savvy thing to do. “The most successful workplace are those that recognize that, and recognize that people do have a life outside of work.”
“I have to call out sometimes and I am always afraid they are going to say no and I have yet to have a no,” Clayton added. “Certain things will come up for me and I can’t make it there and they don’t mind working with me and they pull together as a team. I know when I would call out at other places, it would be such a big deal.”
That coming together, that teamwork to help each other out, is also part of Target’s culture, and there by design, according to Target CEO Tom Zirpoli.
“Building a positive office community and culture is a team effort. Everyone must contribute by treating co-workers with respect and by supporting each other,” Zirpoli said. “We are blessed with smart and caring employees who care for one another, and who try to make work fun while, at the same time, promoting professionalism.”
It’s an environment Clayton said allows her to thrive, focusing on her job — helping Target clients at their jobs in the community.
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“It just feels good to leave work and know you did a good job and that you made an impression on somebody’s life,” she said. “I like that.”