A message to U.S. Operations employees from Dave Clark, CEO, Worldwide Consumer.
In April, Jeff shared our vision to become Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work. Today, I want to share two substantial changes for our U.S. field operations teams that we’re making on our path to achieving this long-term vision.
Teams across Amazon have been working hard for many years to create a world-class workplace, and we’ve made significant progress. LinkedIn named Amazon the #1 most sought-after workplace in both 2018 and 2021, and #2 in 2019 (the list wasn’t published in 2020 due to the pandemic). Forbes listed Amazon as the #2 workplace in the world in 2020. Perhaps most importantly, employees using Glassdoor give Amazon a nearly 4-star rating, and when we recently surveyed employees across our fulfillment network, 94% said that they would recommend Amazon as a place to work to family and friends.
The first update I want to give you today is to a policy called Time off Task. If you’re not familiar with it, this policy is a way to measure the amount of time employees are logged on to the software tools in their work area, and it’s something that’s been in place in one form or another since our earliest days. It’s also similar to policies that you’d find at many logistics and manufacturing facilities.
Time off Task can easily be misunderstood. The primary goal of the Time off Task metric is to understand whether there are issues with the tools that people use to be productive, and only secondarily to identify under-performing employees. There are many legitimate reasons why employees log off their software tools—talking to their manager, a process issue, a work imbalance, a mechanical failure, and many more. Seeing that an employee is not logged on to the software tools for long periods of time (typically more than half an hour) is a good indicator of operational systemic defects, and it prompts managers to engage with an employee in an effort to understand what barriers the employee is facing so they can be fixed.
Starting today, we’re now averaging Time off Task over a longer period to ensure that there’s more signal and less noise—reinforcing the original intent of the program, and focusing Time off Task conversations on how we can help. The goal is to re-focus the conversations on instances where there are likely true operational issues to resolve. We believe this change will help ensure the Time off Task policy is used in the way it was intended.
In addition to changing our Time off Task policy, we’re adjusting our drug testing policy. In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use. However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course. We will no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive drug screening program for any positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation, and will instead treat it the same as alcohol use. We will continue to do impairment checks on the job and will test for all drugs and alcohol after any incident.
And because we know that this issue is bigger than Amazon, our public policy team will be actively supporting The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act)—federal legislation that would legalize marijuana at the federal level, expunge criminal records, and invest in impacted communities. We hope that other employers will join us, and that policymakers will act swiftly to pass this law.
Thank you for everything you do each day to help on our journey to be Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work. It will take time, investment, invention, and determination, and we’ll continue to share updates with you as we go. We’re so proud of all of our teams who are helping us get better every day.