Featured case:
Amazon Career Choice: An Innovative HR Program

Share this page:
The case
amazon

Who – the protagonist

Amazon, the multinational technology company based in Seattle, Washington that focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence.

What?

Amazon had found an innovative way to send its employees to other employees through its Amazon Career Choice Program.

The online retailer paid 95% of the tuition fees for employees to pursue courses in high demand fields such as nursing, pharmacy or IT, irrespective of its relevance to Amazon jobs.

Why?

Why-hr

Initiatives such as Career Choice were expected to alleviate the negative image earned by Amazon in the past due to its strict performance targets and unfriendly HR policies. Would the program continue to iron out the wrinkles in the image of the online giant?

When?

flagCareer Choice launched in 2012 and in 2017 Amazon claimed that 10,000 of its workers had participated in the program.

Where?

The initiative was open to Amazon workers around the world, but it proved most popular in the US.

Key quote

“The wisest thing to do for such big employers is to take a balanced approach. If they subject their employees to high pressure situations, they must also care for their wellbeing and career.” – critics cited Amazon Career Choice as a positive step for the company.

What next?

Is the Career Choice Program really enough to give hourly workers a greater sense of personal growth and financial security? Or should the initiative be admired as a good example for other companies to follow?

The author

author

Vasudha M

Vasudha discusses how her Amazon case stands out from others and what a good teaching note should achieve.

Standing out from the crowd

Standing out from the crowd

Vasudha said: “The case talks about a scenario, where amidst employers who were coming up with creative ways to retain their workers, Amazon stood out with its innovative way to send its employees to other employers. This aspect is what I think makes the case stand out from the crowd.”

Power of a good teaching note

Vasudha continued: “I think a good teaching note should help the faculty identify the right questions to ask during the classroom discussion, thus helping to bring out the key learning points.”

Pros and consPros and cons

She added: “The case translated very well into the classroom. It gave rise to an interesting discussion regarding the pros and cons of the initiative taken by Amazon.”

Overcoming challenges

Vasudha concluded: “While it was easy to gather information on the initiative, as well as the pros and cons, it was not such an easy task to access published material on the feedback about the initiative from Amazon employees who had participated in it.”

About the authors

Vasudha M is a Senior Faculty Research member at Amity University.
e vmurugesan@chn.amity.edu

 
Interested in finding out more?
Download

Download the case

Educators can login to view a free educator preview copy of this case.

Amazon Career Choice: An Innovative HR Program
Ref 419-0062-1

Teaching note
Ref 419-0062-8

 

View a full list of featured cases