Amazon aims to add best employer tag to its most customer centric reputation
Amazon.com can walk and chew gum at the same time. That’s the message from Jeff Bezos in his final letter to investors as Amazon CEO in which he pledges to turn the most customer centric company on the planet into the best employer with the safest workplace environment as well.
Mr. Bezos chose not to take a victory lap after an attempt to unionize a warehouse in Bessemer, AL, failed with the vast majority of workers voting against being represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Even with that win in hand, Mr. Bezos said a variety of factors have led him to conclude that the company needs to have “a better vision for our employees’ success.”
“We shouldn’t settle for 94 percent of employees saying they would recommend Amazon to a friend as a place to work,” Mr. Bezos wrote. “We have to aim for 100 percent. And we’ll do that by continuing to lead on wages, on benefits, on upskilling opportunities, and in other ways that we will figure out over time.”
Amazon’s CEO said that shareholders should not be concerned that becoming the best place in the world to work would reduce the customer obsession that has made it into a retail and technology powerhouse.
“If we can operate two businesses as different as consumer e-commerce and AWS, and do both at the highest level, we can certainly do the same with these two vision statements. In fact, I’m confident they will reinforce each other,” he wrote.
In related news, Amazon has also pledged to increase the number of women in senior technical jobs by 30 percent this year and to double the number of Blacks in high level positions in the company’s U.S. businesses. Women currently fill 22.8 percent of senior leadership roles at Amazon, while Black employees fill 3.8 percent.
This is not the first time that Amazon has set hiring goals for underrepresented groups of employees. Beth Galetti, senior vice president of people eXperience and technology at the company, writes that in 2020, Amazon set out to double the number of Black directors and vice presidents within the organization.
Ms. Galetti thanked Amazon’s workers for sharing their stories.
“Tough feedback is always uncomfortable to hear, but their stories remind us that we have more work to do to achieve our goals,” she said.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect Amazon to bring a similar level of focus to becoming the best place to work as it does to satisfying its millions of customers? Where do you stand on the philosophy that putting the employee first ensures that they will put the customer first?