Day 2: Everything AmazonDay 2: Everything Amazon

How Amazon could be Earth's best employer: Ideas from a logistics pro turned warehouse worker

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Gisela Hausmann had a unique perspective on Amazon when she started a job in 2019 as a front-line worker at one of the company's delivery hubs in South Carolina.

A native of Vienna, Austria, she had years of experience as a logistics professional, learning the industry from the ground up at FedEx, and working for a major ocean freight shipping company. She had also been following Amazon closely for many years as an independent author using its platforms to publish books.

To say that she thought highly of Amazon and its founder Jeff Bezos would be an understatement. Based on her experience as an early author on the Kindle and CreateSpace platforms, she especially admired Amazon's impact on publishing.

"I saw them doing the things that [authors] barely dreamed about, because this was so amazing that nobody even hoped that it could happen — then Bezos did it!" Hausmann says. "He was a god in my eyes. I call him the new Gutenberg."

Working at the Amazon Delivery Station did not give her the same feeling.

As she explains, the work itself wasn't the problem. After getting up to speed in her job stowing packages, she was able to exceed Amazon's productivity benchmarks. She didn't see or experience commonly reported problems in Amazon's warehouses, such as workers skipping bathroom breaks to keep up.

But she was surprised at what she describes as lackluster training, a lack of clear best practices, an apparent inability to turn input from well-meaning employees into operational improvements, and an overall disconnect between Amazon's leadership principles and the realities of its fast-growing delivery network.

After 468 days, Hausmann decided to leave due to what she described as an accumulation of frustrations.

She says she hadn't planned to write a book when she started the job. Her main objective was to work her way up in the logistics division of a company she admires. But she changed her mind after realizing that her first-hand experience, combined with her background, could provide some unique and potentially valuable insights for people interested in the company.

Her book, Inside Amazon: My Story, includes recommendations and ideas for Amazon, which she hopes might catch the attention of Amazon's executives as they work to fulfill the company's latest leadership principle of striving to be "Earth's Best Employer."

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