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It’s an honor just to be nominated


All retailers want to be perceived as great places to work and build a career as it aids in recruitment and retention of employees in an industry where costs associated with notoriously high rates of turnover cause a drag on performance.

So it was nice for Target to be nominated for the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. Normally, being nominated is an honor, except in this case the distinction is diminished somewhat by the sheer volume of nominees. There were a total of 3,236 companies nominated for the Freedom Award, which recognizes employers for providing exceptional support to their Guard and Reserve employees. Hard to get too excited about inclusion in such a large group, but it will be a much bigger deal if Target is among the semifinalists announced in April or among the 15 companies chosen to receive the award and given the opportunity to participate in an event in Washington, D.C. slated for Sept. 20.

Retailers do occasionally win the award but not very often. Since the program’s inception in 1996, only seven retailers have been recognized out of a total of 160 companies that won the award. Last year, Dollar Genera was the lone retail recipient, as it was in 2007. Before that, Sears was a winner in 2005, and Home Depot and Walmart were recognized in 2004. Home Depot and Fred Meyer were award recipients in 1997.

Guard and Reserve members, or family members acting on their behalf, nominated their civilian employers for the Freedom Award during the 12-week nomination season. Almost one-half of the U.S. military is comprised of the Guard and Reserve, and while most employers proudly support their military employees, Freedom Award recipients go above and beyond what is required by law. Last year’s recipients were nominated for superior acts of support including driving a deployed employee’s children to school, replacing a military employee’s broken family refrigerator while he was serving abroad, and working overtime to cover a service member’s shifts so they could take part in military training.

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