Employee Engagement – Is the Grass Starting to Look Greener for Amazon Employees?

A giraffe is looking over a fence at an expanse of green grass which might be a better place to work

On the face of it, you might think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence at Amazon than where you are currently. It is the largest Internet-based retailer in the United States. It began as an online bookstore but, in the 20 years since it first went online, it has surpassed even retail giant Walmart in the United States in terms of market capitalization. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a winning organization that has a global reach, an internationally recognized brand and a success story that is unmatched?

The answer is not so simple. It seems Amazon may not be such a great place to work. Several stories of poor working conditions have come to light in recent years.  Amazon has been criticized for the way it treats their warehouse workers by pressuring them to work faster. Their white-collar workers have complained, too, about an environment where confrontation is common, hours are long and late, and expectations are unreasonably high.

No company wants this kind of black eye. Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO tried to counter the bad publicity with an email to Amazon employees saying, “I don’t recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either.” But he understood this was not enough to address the issue of employee dissatisfaction. He knows that, without the support of the workforce and their commitment to the company goals, Amazon’s business results will suffer. And so “Connections” was born.

Connections is an effort at Amazon to learn just what its workers are feeling. Amazon has launched this program to try to get confidential feedback from its workforce on such issues as leadership and development opportunities and satisfaction with their jobs. Assessment of employee engagement is the first step toward resolving any issues that keep Amazon from being a great place to work.

What is the state of employee engagement at your workplace? If you are uncertain, you should waste no time in finding out.

While every organization has a unique strategy and culture, studies show levels of disengagement to be between 50-89%.  This is a huge problem for leaders whose success is almost by definition dependent upon the success of those around them.  Actively disengaged workers are up to 10 times more likely to under-perform and look for other opportunities than engaged staff.

And employee engagement is far more than a simple retention issue.

According to four recent studies, organizations with lower employee engagement scores have 12% smaller profits, 19% less operating income and 28% lower earnings per share than their higher engaged peers.  Organizations with high employee engagement have 18% greater productivity, 12% higher customer satisfaction and 51% less attrition.

The good news for Amazon and everyone else is that employee engagement can be measured and improved.  And if leaders take the right actions to improve employee engagement, business performance can improve dramatically.

Make sure you are on the right side of the fence when it comes to employee engagement. It can make the difference between success and failure for your desired high performance culture.

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