Studies show that in the labor market it is becoming more and more difficult to hire the best, even for the most beautiful companies. How is the situation in Amazon France?
We do not notice any particular difficulties. If some companies recruit according to certain types of schools, we are instead committed to finding profiles aligned with our values. Our recruitment mechanics are based on 16 basic driving principles for us, such as obsession with the customer, taking initiatives, being willing to discuss ideas to make the best decision, being able to move quickly at work…
Concretely, what do you look at to make sure the filter “matches” your values?
In taking the lead, for example, we will ask if at some point, in his previous experience (an association, in an office, in a school, etc.), he took up a topic. And in this initiative, it will be about how far he went, what the outcome was and how he measured it.
Another example: about his intellectual curiosity, we will seek to understand how he searches for information and with whom, in general, he communicates to work on a topic.
What executive positions are you looking for this year?
The executive population represents 25% of our workforce. For most starters, we employ the e-commerce, cloud computing, ad management, in all of the company support functions (human resources and legal) and in the marketplace (the platform that all third-party merchants sell on, which generates more than Amazon e-commerce turnover, note editor), but also in aggressively developing activities such as video production. Altogether, at the headquarters and in the warehouses, we are talking about 3,000 net jobs on permanent contracts. Thus we will increase from 15,500 to 18,500 employees at the end of 2022.
Your recruitment process is known to be long and demanding. Can you elaborate which file the executables are tracking? Why do we adopt this strategy?
The process is not long. As a rule, you have the first phone call. If it is decisive, you have the possibility to conduct a series of 4 to 5 interviews. For some jobs, there will be a test (Excel, typed, etc.)
Note that the final decision rests with someone not directly related to the position. It’s someone with experience hiring at Amazon who plays the coordinating role, stepping in to debrief each interview and asking themselves if they see the candidate succeed and develop at the company.
This avoids the closeness, urgency and bias of managers who say “I need someone fast”And “Hey, I love this candidate, I will see him on my team”. Except that the candidate in question will not remain throughout his career on his team, we must above all ensure that he is consistent with the values of the company.
For the third year in a row, Amazon France has been honored by the Top Employer Institute. What do you think about the appreciation of your employees?
We give them equal opportunities. We hire young graduates from major schools, but also many people with diploma. So the quality of life at work is fundamental to us. If you take employees who can work remotely, we’ve created a hybrid working system that doesn’t mandate any number of days per week to work face to face. Each department is free to decide how to work with its teams.
Annemarie Hauser is a graduate of Odencia Business School and has worked in human resources for seven years at EY Audit and Consulting. She has been Human Resources Manager for Amazon France and Luxembourg since 2014.
We have many comfortable spaces, brainstorming rooms, large kitchens… There is also a gym and medical service on site if you want to have blood tests or vaccinations.
Finally, upon the birth of a child, young parents benefit equally from one month of leave in addition to what is required by law, fully funded by Amazon. We also have a platform that gives young parents access to an address book to find childcare solutions.
Is this enough to retain young employees who tend to change company regularly?
We have a long-term vision, which is why all of our employees are contributors to the company. This makes it possible to retain employees and involve them in the success of the company.
Then, we support our employees’ long-term careers. I have the case of a young graduate who developed the marketplace, then ran the “Games” category on our site, then developed a program for external sellers and another on equal opportunity. She now works in public affairs. The range of possibilities is very diverse! It is not uncommon for a young graduate to change position after 18/24 months.
Amazon France consortiums are calling for an overall increase of 5%, particularly to deal with inflation. You’ve given a 3.5% overall raise. Why don’t you go further? We remember that in 2021 and globally, Amazon generated $33 billion in profits, up 56% in one year.
This 3.5% figure relates to the proposed overall increase in staffing in the warehouse division. Then, I remind you that with us, after two years, the order picker will earn on average 25% more than the minimum wage. On top of that, he gets free shares from Amazon every year, in the thirteenth month… We paid an inflation bonus of 150 euros. Regarding executive functions, there are only individual increases.
Additionally, Amazon’s proposal is above average expected salary increases this year, which range from 2% to 2.5% in France according to market analysts such as LHH and Deloitte’s annual bonus monitor. Human Capital.
Amazon is not exempt from criticism about the environment. What guarantees do you offer on the issue of sustainable development, particularly to the increasingly committed young graduates? Aren’t you worried that they’ll end up pouting at you, too?
Young people are very sensitive about social responsibility, which is a good thing because we are too. I think we need to highlight a number of unfounded things. It is said that trucks carrying parcels pollute, etc. But really, we are the public transportation for e-commerce. It is better to have a truck that transports 50 packages than 50 cars that go shopping each…
Then we signed the so-called Climate Pledge, i.e. commitments to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement ten years ago (carbon neutrality in 2040). Amazon has acquired 100,000 electric cars worldwide. This is the largest order in the world.
We invest hundreds of millions of dollars in reforestation. We have warehouses, which are mainly site rehabilitation which are increasingly being built at great heights to occupy as little space as possible. Not forgetting the ongoing repercussions of reducing packaging and eliminating plastic.
On March 31, the Administrative Court of Besançon canceled the construction permit for the Amazon France warehouse project of 76,000 square meters in the Balfour region. The judge reprimanded the American company for not offering it “There is no compensation procedure for the disappearance of the wetlands affected by the project”. Refusal comes after giving up another warehouse, this time in Rouen. Likewise at the end of 2021, with the Sorting Center project in Gard.