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Case Code: CLHR056
Case Length: 7 pages 
Period: 2016-2019
Pub Date: 2020
Teaching Note: Available
Subject : Human Resources/ Organization Behavior
Organization, Inc.
Industry :Retailing
Countries : United States

Can Amazon Overcome Workplace Stress through Up-Skilling at Its Fulfillment Centers?



The case study ‘Workplace and Up-skilling at Amazon’ deals with the conditions at Amazon’s workplace and the up-skilling initiatives it took as a means to improve its work culture. Amazon, in July 2019, announced that it would spend US$700 million on up-skilling 100,000 of its employees in the US by 2025. This was nearly one-third of the US workforce. Up-skilling 2025 would provide new training opportunities as well as build on existing programs such as those offered by Amazon Technical Academy, Associate2Tech, Machine Learning University, Growing Career Choice, Amazon Apprenticeship, and Amazon Web Services training and certification to close the cloud skills gap in the industry. At the same time, Amazon faced a lot of criticism in the US for its workplace culture that encouraged its workers to work harder and faster in the midst of uncomfortable temperatures inside of its warehouses; and for its workers suffering from, heart attacks and injuries and being given inadequate breaks while on the job. The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) reported six Amazon worker deaths between November 2018 and April 2019. The unsafe and unhealthy working conditions in which there had been several accidents and fatalities led to Amazon’s inclusion on the National COSH’s 2019 Dirty Dozen list of the most dangerous employers in the US. The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) also carried out a survey at New York City’s Amazon Fulfillment Center in Staten Island, US. The survey reported that 80% of the workers had been pressured to work harder and faster, 66% experienced physical pain while doing their regular work duties, and 42% of the workers had sustained physical injuries. Based on these findings, NYCOSH asked Amazon to remain neutral in the workers’ push to unionize, build a comprehensive ergonomics program, and reduce line speeds.
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  • Introduce the importance of a positive work culture.
  • Gain knowledge on the different types of workplace stress.
  • Understand the relevance of employee training and up-skilling programs.
  • Learn about the need to create and maintain healthy working conditions.
  • Importance of workplace culture that encourages employee satisfaction.
With more than 640,000 employees worldwide, Amazon had been included in LinkedIn’s Top Companies list for four years in a row – 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015; ranked #2 in the Fortune 2017 and 2018 World’s Most Admired Companies, and ranked #5 in Fast Company's 2018 World’s Most Innovative Companies. The company had also received a perfect score of 100 points from the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index . Amazon reported total net sales of $70 billion in the third quarter of 2019.

In July 2019, Amazon announced that it planned to up-skill 100,000 employees in the US for In-Demand Jobs by 2025 across its corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retail stores, and transportation network in the US with access to training programs that would help them move into more highly skilled roles within or outside of Amazon. The company announced US$700 million for the Upskilling 2025 programs ...


Amazon Fulfillment Center; Workplace Stress; Up-skilling; Workplace Culture; Digital Training; Classroom training; Career Planning; Training Programs

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