How Amazon could be Earth’s best employer: 5 ideas from a logistics pro turned warehouse worker

Gisela Hausmann is an author and veteran of the logistics industry who writes in her book “Inside Amazon: My Story” about her experiences working at an Amazon delivery station.

Gisela Hausmann had a unique perspective on Amazon when she started a frontline job at one of the company’s delivery centers in South Carolina in 2019.

Born in Vienna, Austria, she had years of experience as a logistician, learning the industry from the ground up at FedEx and working for a large ocean freight shipping company. As an independent author, she has been following Amazon intensively for many years and used its platforms to publish books.

To say that she thought highly of Amazon and its founder Jeff Bezos would be an understatement. Given her experience as an early writer on the Kindle and CreateSpace platforms, she particularly admired the impact Amazon had on publishing.

“I’ve seen them do the things that [authors] hardly dreamed, because it was so amazing that nobody even hoped it could happen – then Bezos did it! ”says Hausmann. “In my eyes he was a god. I call him the new Gutenberg. “

Working on the Amazon Delivery Station didn’t make her feel the same.

As she explains, the work itself wasn’t the problem. After familiarizing herself with her parcel stowing job, she managed to beat Amazon’s productivity benchmarks. She did not see or experience any commonly reported problems in Amazon’s camps, such as workers skipping toilet breaks to keep up.

But she was surprised at what she described as lackluster training, the lack of clear best practices, the apparent inability to translate input from well-meaning employees into operational improvements, and the general gap between Amazon’s leadership principles and the realities of its fast-growing delivery network on.

After 468 days, Hausmann decided to leave due to an accumulation of frustrations.

She says she had no plans to write a book when she started the job. Her main goal was to work her way up in the logistics department of a company she admired. But she changed her mind when she realized that her firsthand experience, combined with her background, could provide some unique and potentially valuable insights for people interested in the company.

Her book Inside Amazon: My Story contains ideas for Amazon that she hopes will catch the attention of Amazon executives as they work to implement the company’s latest leadership principle, “The World’s Best Workplace.” to be.

Here is a summary of five of their suggestions:

  1. Develop a world-class training program with a rigorous focus on best practices to ensure everyone does each job the way the company is familiar with.
  2. Look for the people who are looking to build a long-term career in the company, who see it as more than just a job, focus on their professional development and nurture the best of them instead of mainly focusing on young college graduates who , will change jobs after just 2.8 years, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  3. Implement clear practices and procedures for receiving, evaluating, and implementing employee feedback for operational improvements in minute detail.
  4. Customize or supplement the company’s leadership principles and mantras with concepts more relevant to frontline employees. Amazon sayings like “It’s Always Day One” and “Work Hard, Have Fun, Make History” may inspire people in a creative office environment, but in the service industry they can fail, become the subject of jokes and frustration.
  5. Amazon could have given workers free Prime memberships as a reward during the pandemic, holding them up as heroes, and generating goodwill among the workforce, making them more likely to stand up for Amazon in their communities as an ambassador of goodwill for the company.

But can Amazon really become the best employer in the world? Hausmann, who is still a fan of the company, says she is “100% sure” that this is possible.

“You will always be on my podium,” she says. “But I would hope that they live up to what they say about themselves and what they can. And when they finally realize how great logistics can be, or take on the responsibility that sees it, then they will make it. “

Hausmann shares her experiences and observations on this episode of Day 2, GeekWire’s podcast about everything Amazon.

Listen to Day 2 above and subscribe to any podcast app.

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