Over my 16-year tenure at Amazon, I've witnessed our operations network’s remarkable expansion to better serve the needs of both our employees and customers. Through the years, I’ve been lucky to meet, lead, and work with thousands of employees, walk the floor of hundreds of buildings, and help shape many of the things we do to support our teams and deliver for our customers. I often get asked questions from outside Amazon about what it’s like to work here, so I wanted to share my observations on one of my favorite topics, and something we focus a lot of time on across our network: creating a safe and supportive work environment for all employees.

We are sharing our full-year 2023 data for our operations network, and it shows we’re continuing to make year-over-year progress worldwide.

As a company, we’ve been sharing information about our safety data and programs for several years (for example, you can read our 2023 safety performance and our industry-leading heat mitigation strategy), but here’s a bit more about four ways we work to support our team.

1. Ensure performance expectations are transparent and fair

Like any business, we have performance expectations for all of our teams, but these expectations are based on multiple factors including the performance of the entire team, site wide. Our approach ensures everyone is on equal footing and their performance evaluation is insulated from things outside of employees’ control—like changes in the business, inventory, freight mix, or seasonal impacts. Our employees can see their own performance at any time and can talk to their manager if they’re having trouble finding the information. This way, if there is ever an instance where an employee may be struggling, we can work with them to understand their challenges, and provide them additional training or coaching to help them be successful.

An image of Sarah Rhoads standing inside a fulfillment center with two other Amazon employees talking and laughing.

2. Support each employee’s growth and development

We want Amazon to be a place where employees can build careers as well as a place where they can learn skills to succeed outside of Amazon. One of my favorite programs is Career Choice, which offers pre-paid tuition and skills training to our hourly employees. The program offers employees ways to start or finish their college degrees, earn a high school diploma, improve their language fluency, or earn an industry certification. We've seen employees use this program to work their way up to manager and site leadership ranks within Amazon, or to move outside the company into skilled roles with professional certifications, like long haul truck driving and robotics.

The truck-driving training program offered through Career Choice is unlocking new opportunities in transportation and logistics both at Amazon and beyond.

Career Choice is designed to support everyone’s individual journeys—whether they want to learn a new skill to advance within their current role or explore a career pivot. We've seen employees use this program to work their way up to manager and site leadership ranks within Amazon, or even to move outside the company into skilled roles with professional certifications, like long haul truck driving. For example, more than 28,000 Amazon employees have participated in the truck-driving training program, offered through Career Choice, to earn their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and successfully transition into a commercial driving role. In 2023, we also added several new benefit offerings, including a new emergency savings program and a financial assistance pilot program that helped save customer fulfillment and operations employees nearly $20 million—all available from day one of employment. Worldwide, nearly 200,000 Amazon employees have participated in Career Choice since it launched in 2012, with record participation last year, and I’ve heard members of our team say this is their favorite benefit we offer. It’s been so exciting and rewarding to see it grow and help change our employees’ careers for the better.

Image of employee Jessica standing in a fulfillment center holding her laptop and smiling.

In addition to offering unique skills training like Career Choice, we also invest heavily in offering great pay and benefits, which we know are important parts of helping our team live healthy lives. Our full-time operations employees earn an average hourly wage of over $20.50, and are provided with anytime access to earned pay; health, vision, and dental insurance from the first day on the job; a 401(k) with company match; up to 20 weeks of paid pregnancy/parental leave for birth parents (six weeks for eligible supporting parents); and Amazon’s Resources for Living program, a free benefit offering mental health and financial services and support for employees, their families, and their households.

3. Leverage technology to enhance employee safety and security

One thing I love most about Amazon is the fact that we’re constantly innovating, inventing, and investing to keep our team safe. From smaller technology advancements like height adjustable desks to improve ergonomics to first-of-its kind robotics, we’re always striving to help our employees work with ease—both physically and mentally.

750,000 Amazon robots are doing the heavy lifting for our employees so they can deliver for customers. With the latest in AI, our technology makes our sites safer and enables employee upskilling.

Today, we have more than 750,000 robots across our worldwide operations supplementing our employees’ work and creating a safer environment—helping to alleviate physical tasks like walking longer distances or bending and twisting to pick up packages. For example, we recently deployed a new innovation we call Sequoia at a site in Texas. Sequoia is a newly-designed ergonomic workstation where containers are delivered to an employee so they can do even more of their work in their ergonomic “power zone” (the area between the shoulder and mid-thigh). We’re really excited to roll out Sequoia at other sites in our network because it helps minimize how often employees have to reach above their heads or squat down to pick customer orders, which helps prevent injuries.

Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund
Sequoia reimagines how we store and manage inventory at our sites.

Our robots also go beyond supporting employees in their current jobs—they create new kinds of job opportunities. Since we started introducing robotics to our sites, we’ve created more than 700 new job categories and hired hundreds of thousands of employees into these new roles. And to help our team take advantage of those opportunities, we’ve created skills training programs that teach employees how to train and fix robots—skills that they can use here or at other companies as they grow their careers.

Navy veteran and Amazon executive, Sarah Rhoads, shares lessons and perspective from 12 years of service as a Navy fighter pilot and more than a decade of Amazon leadership.

Learn more about how robotics help improve safety across our operations

4. Seek employee feedback to improve our operations

We know a big part of supporting our team is creating a culture where every employee can express themselves comfortably and have their voice heard, and our employees’ feedback is one of the most effective ways to ensure we’re always improving. It’s why we provide a wide variety of feedback mechanisms, including anonymous options. One example is Dragonfly. This tool—available on employees’ devices and at site kiosks—lets them easily share safety concerns and suggestions, and site managers are immediately informed so they can take appropriate action. With over 1.1 million employees working in our operations, small safety process improvements can have a big impact at scale, and in 2023 alone, we successfully addressed more than 200,000 Dragonfly observations to help make our sites safer.

In addition to Dragonfly, every shift starts with a safety start-up meeting, employees can post comments, questions, or suggestions to our Voice of the Associate boards—which are answered directly by managers, and we leverage anonymous surveys to gather direct feedback.

These are just a few of the things I’ve seen, been lucky to help build, and take pride in across our operations. I want to extend a thank you to all the teams involved, and our employees who participate in these programs and give us feedback which makes us better every day.

If you’d like to meet some of our team and see inside one of our buildings, I encourage you to come and see for yourself—we offer tours to the public, and we’d love to see you there.