October 1, 2022

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Q&A: Amazon strengthens its customer-centric culture by focusing on its employees

4 min read



Customers shape ROI, and putting them at the center of everything is a win-win strategy.

But having unmotivated employees driving a customer-centric culture doesn’t make much sense. Emotions can be easily reflected by employees when they feel discriminated against, unfair, or fall into burnout, according to Nicole Parafita (pictured), head of communications, people and culture programs at Amazon Web Services Inc.

To solve this problem, AWS is taking the lead by striving to become the best employer on the planet. Now, the company uses diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and programs to promote the representation of different employee groups, including various genders, races, ethnicities, ages, abilities / disabilities, religions, cultures and sexual orientations. These initiatives help AWS benefit from diverse experiences and skillsets. In fact, women in leadership roles across the company have increased drastically over the past year.

“I am very proud to share that we finished 2021 with 18% female representation in the LATAM leadership team… and we started 2022 with 35% female representation, which is a huge improvement from one year to the other,” Parafita said. “But it’s not just about numbers. It’s a fact that these women that are now part of the leadership team have been given very important tasks. “

Parafita spoke with Lisa Martinhost of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during the Women in Tech: International Women’s Day event. They discussed Parafita’s role at AWS; the company’s leadership principle; and its diversity, equality and inclusion initiatives. [The following interview has been condensed for clarity.]

Tell us a little bit about your role as head of communications, people and culture.

Parafita: I lead the communications, people and culture team, which is dedicated to understanding people’s needs, fostering leadership development, increasing diversity and inclusion, enabling employee recognition and, of course, mitigating burnout. So it’s a huge task. And, of course, it is aligned to Amazon’s 15th leadership principle, which is striving to be Earth’s best employer.

What was the influence in creating the role that you’re in?

Parafita: I think that the first one is this new [AWS] leadership principle… to be Earth’s best employer. People are our top priority, and we want to work with them and for them. The second one is the key differentiator that we have at AWS, which is our culture and its people, and how our people live the culture. And the third one would be the fact that we’re growing so fast. We’re hiring so many people in the last year or so, and we need to make sure we keep this day-one culture alive and strong.

What are you doing in terms of bringing diversity, equality and inclusion into AWS LATAM?

Parafita: So what do we mean when we talk about inclusion, diversity and equity? I think it’s good to define these key pillars of our culture. The first one is inclusion, which is about belonging, right? It’s about giving psychological safety to people so that they feel represented. How do we make people feel comfortable where they work at?

The second thing is about diversity, which is about feeling represented? And it’s not about only gender. It can be about race. It can be about ethnicity, sexual orientation, age. We want everyone to feel represented.

The last thing that I want to say is equity, which is one of the key things that we have in our culture. And equity is about fairness. It’s about generating or giving the same amount of opportunities to everybody. The fact that we’re massively training people in Latin America is about fairness, about generating the skills.

Talk to us about some of the things that you’re looking forward to as 2022 progresses.

Parafita: I think we are always trying to just confirm our beliefs at AWS. And this is what I like the most about working here. AWS… really values ​​people who are curious, are always learning, and always try to listen to other opinions. And this is key for our culture.

I’m very excited about the fact that we’re putting on mechanisms to have even more feedback than we used to have, not just from customers and partners, but also from our employees. So the fact that we’re having real-time feedback will really make us better as an organization. And always with this day-one culture in mind, we’re making decisions very fast. So my job is very dynamic.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the Women in Tech: International Women’s Day event.

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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