By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer
Spring is known as the home improvement season, and is retailer The Home Depot's busiest time of year. The home improvement company is preparing for the increased sales and store visits by hiring 80,000 new employees to meet demand. The news came via press release on February 10, and the new 80,000 employment opportunities include positions in the retailer's distribution centers, as well as The Home Depot stores. The Home Depot usually adds new associates in anticipation for the spring sales spike, and the number of positions matches the same number announced last year with both part-time and seasonal positions available. Hiring is currently underway, with The Home Depot recommending the positions for “retirees and college students looking for extra income.” The retailer has stated that time earned during the seasonal position is applicable to benefits for permanent hourly associates, including the retailer's profit-sharing program, 401k match, and tuition assistance, for associates who transition into full-time workers.
“Spring is a great time to join The Home Depot, where you can work alongside a fun, energetic team that's passionate about the latest home improvement innovations and great customer service,” says Tim Crow, executive vice president of Human Resources at The Home Depot.
In May 2014, The Home Depot reported “robust” sales, contributing some of its success to sales for concrete and other landscaping items needed to make repairs after a harsh winter. As the Northeast is hammered with snow in recent weeks, The Home Depot could be anticipating similar conditions for sales, and is therefore extending its hiring numbers to match last year. The 80,000 workers is only for the United States, with an additional 5,500 projected hires in Canada as well.
On February 24, The Home Depot will announce their fourth quarter earnings via webcast and in January, named the current CEO and President of the company, Craig Menear, as Chairman of the company. The retailer is the largest home improvement speciality retailer in the world, with over 2,260 stores in the United States, and currently employs over 300,000 associates. As the housing market improves, The Home Depot is poised to meet contractor and homeowners' needs. Lowe's also announced significant hiring numbers; in January, the retailer said they would be hiring 30,000 employees, a boost of 5,000 more hires than last year's numbers.
The Home Depot's new and existing hires will also be equipped with new technology to help workers assist customers quickly and more efficiently. Called the FIRST Phone, approximately 40,000 of the web-enabled devices will help stores with expediting checkout and conduct mobile check-out processes in the garden section. With FIRST Phone, associates can also find products for customers, check inventory on hand in their store, and explain product features. FIRST Phone is also a walkie-talkie, and was designed specifically for The Home Depot, “with intuitive interface, Internet access and inclusion of the The Home Depot mobile app.” The new technology will help consumers, and is a good move for the retailer, especially as Lowe's is currently testing robots to help customers in-store. The Home Depot has established a digital newsroom and mini-site where prospective employees can read more about positions, get interview tips, and more, plus a gallery showcasing the features of FIRST Phone.