Consistent, honest, and open communication with our employees allows us to continuously improve our workplace experience, empowering individuals to raise concerns and have them directly addressed by leadership. Our goal is to hear from and listen to everyone. Below are some of the many ways an Amazon employee can choose to communicate with management.
Open Door Philosophy
We believe candid and constructive communication in an environment of mutual respect is essential to our collective success. We have an open-door policy, which means we welcome and encourage any employee to discuss suggestions, concerns, or feedback with their manager, a Human Resources team member, or any member of Amazon’s leadership team.
Voice of the Associate Boards
Voice of the Associate boards are in Amazon fulfillment centers around the globe—physically and virtually—providing employees a forum for expressing their concerns, offering suggestions, and asking questions on a daily basis to leadership. Leadership teams reply directly to questions, promoting dialogue and efficient remediation of issues. In 2020, our managers received and responded to more than 245,000 comments, questions, and issues raised on the Voice of the Associate boards.
Connections is a real-time, company-wide employee feedback mechanism designed to listen to and learn from employees at scale to improve the employee experience. Each day, Connections questions are delivered to every Amazon employee on a computer, a workstation device, or hand scanner generating more than 1.2 million responses from employees daily. Employees may choose to answer or not answer any question, and individual responses are aggregated and shared with managers at the team level to maintain confidentiality. Connections analyzes response data and provides insights to managers and leaders to review and take actions as they uncover issues or see opportunities to improve. Employees respond to Connections questions at more than 3,000 unique locations in 53 countries, and questions are delivered in 26 languages.
Suggestions or complaints emailed to a member of the senior leadership team are considered Executive Escalations. Any employee can utilize this method of providing a suggestion or raising a concern to leadership. Escalations are independently reviewed by Human Resources, used as a learning opportunity, and may be used to update our processes to prevent gaps in the future.
In the U.S. and Canada, Amazon’s appeals process is a dispute resolution mechanism for employees in certain stages of our fulfillment network to challenge certain disciplinary actions involving final written warnings and terminations. A second level manager or general manager may review the issues raised in an appeal, including management decisions, to determine if a policy or practice was applied properly and consistently. If not, we will remediate the issue consistent with our policies and practices. In June 2020, we introduced an online paperless appeal process, providing a more accessible experience for employees.
In performing their job duties, Amazon employees should always act lawfully, ethically, and in the best interests of Amazon. The Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (Code of Conduct) sets out basic guiding principles for all employees. Employees may raise questions or report suspected violations of our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics through Amazon’s Ethics Line globally, by phone or online. The Ethics Line is the second most utilized method for employees to raise concerns, and employees have used 30 of the 165 languages available to do so. Reports to the Ethics Line are answered by an independent third party and may be made anonymously on request. Our Business Conduct and Ethics team records, reviews, and directs for investigation calls for potential violations of the Code and tracks cases through to remediation when necessary. Certain allegations of violations of the Code are also reported up to either the Audit Committee or the Leadership Development and Compensation Committee.
Associate Insight Surveys and Pulse Surveys
Annual surveys ask employees to anonymously express opinions about issues in the workplace, and managers respond by remediating issues or making improvements.
Regular In-Person Meetings While Maintaining Social Distancing
Through all-hands meetings with general managers, stand-up meetings with direct supervisors, and one-on-one meetings, employees have daily opportunities to engage with leaders, raise issues, and make suggestions to continually improve our workplace.
Associate Roundtables and Forums
The purpose of Associate Roundtable meetings is to provide leaders and associates with a meaningful opportunity to discuss issues. Leaders hear directly from hourly associates, who can ask questions about any topic and get immediate feedback. Associates are able to share their thoughts of their job, their work environment, and any challenges they face. The leadership team uses the information to improve the workplace and the associate experience.
In Associate Forums—active in a number of countries, including the UK, Poland, and Slovakia—associates, elected by their peers, meet regularly with management to discuss associate ideas, issues, and concerns, and engage in projects and activities to build employee engagement.
Freedom of Association
We respect freedom of association and our employees’ right to join, form, or not to join a labor union or other lawful organization of their own selection, without fear of reprisal, intimidation, or harassment. These rights should be exercised in an informed and thoughtful manner. Amazon has a variety of elected associate forums and work councils around the world, and Amazon has associates represented by some form of collective bargaining in many countries. In the first quarter of 2021, the National Labor Relations Board oversaw a union vote at our fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama. Employees made the choice to vote against joining a union by a large margin.
We value worker feedback, and are committed to providing our employees with grievance mechanisms and remedial action, regardless of collective bargaining presence. We firmly believe it is in the best interests of our employees and our company to continue our direct communications, and the best way to effect positive change is for our employees and managers to continue working together directly. We work hard to listen to our employees, make continuous improvements, and invest heavily to offer competitive pay and benefits in a safe and inclusive workplace.