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Amazon India Empowers Military Veterans With Meaningful Second Career Opportunities
Taking forward this commitment, Amazon India has successfully created meaningful work opportunities for individuals from all communities, including military veterans amongst others.
The wealth of experience and ethics that veterans bring are an incomparable addition to the company’s operations network. Their soldier-like discipline matches and blends with Amazon’s clockwork precision. Committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, Amazon India is always looking for ways to scale its impact as it continues to grow. Taking forward this commitment, Amazon India has successfully created meaningful work opportunities for individuals from all communities, including military veterans amongst others.
In 2019, Amazon India launched a Military Veterans Employment program to create opportunities for military veterans and their spouses. The company partnered with the Office of the Director General of Resettlement (DGR) and the Army Welfare Placement Organization (AWPO) to ensure continued work opportunities for military families in the country. Through this program, Amazon India has created hundreds of job opportunities for military veterans enabling them to establish fulfilling alternate careers after serving in country’s the armed forces.
1. What is Amazon India’s Military Veterans Employment Program and when was it launched?
Amazon India launched the Military Veterans Employment Program in August 2019 with an aim to create opportunities for military veterans and their spouses across Amazon’s Fulfillment network. The program is in line with Amazon India’s continued efforts and commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workforce, where unique perspectives and skillsets are valued. The wealth of experience and ethics that veterans bring are an incomparable addition to the company’s operations network. Their soldier-like discipline matches and blends with Amazon’s clockwork precision.
2. What are the different categories at Amazon, where these Military veterans (MVs) are hired? How many Military Veterans are a part of the program?
Amazon’s mission is to be earth’s most customer-centric company, and this mission is central to our work in diversity, equity, and inclusion. This has seen us curating initiatives that cultivate talent across multiple communities including Military Veterans. Military veterans bring in a wealth of experience and diverse talents that are an incomparable addition to any company. Amazon India already has hundreds of military veterans working across functions in its operations network such as Customer Fulfillment, Facilities Management, Transportation, and Last Mile logistics functions, among others, in leadership and managerial roles. In line with Amazon’s global vision of hiring 25,000 military veterans by 2025, we will continue to provide them with meaningful opportunities to further leverage their skillset.
3. Amazon has partnered with DGR and AWPO for this program. Please share details of the partnership and what is their contribution to this program?
We have partnered with the Office of the Director-General of Resettlement (DGR) and the Army Welfare Placement Organization (AWPO) to create continued work opportunities for military families across the country. Amazon India resonates with and respects the principles and work ethics of these veterans and believes they can think big and invent on behalf of our customers.
The association with DGR and AWPO will further enable Amazon India to mobilize the untapped potential of veterans, giving it access to a greater talent pipeline. Veterans will have access to various work opportunities including a mix of individual contribution and managerial roles across its Fulfilment Centres, Sort Centres, and Delivery Stations. This collaborative effort further expands Amazon India’s existing Military Veterans Employment program.
4. What are the selection criteria to hire the MVs?
At Amazon, we maintain a high bar for talent to stay ahead of ever-evolving customer expectations. In line with this, our hiring practices and processes are inclusive and equitable.
We have reverse-engineered practices to ensure that our recruiters and hiring managers can make the hiring process easier for military veterans. We work with our teams to give them a holistic understanding of the background and roles veterans come from. This training enables the latter to ask the right questions in the context of the veterans’ experiences and gauge the roles that these veterans would be best suited for.
5. What are the advantages of hiring MVs? What value do these veterans add to Amazon India or any corporate organization?
At Amazon India, we are constantly looking for leaders who can invent, think big, have a bias for action, and deliver results on behalf of our customers. These principles resonate with the veterans who have served our country in the Armed Forces. They have priceless traits that are ingrained in them including self-discipline, ownership, and process-oriented thinking, among others that are invaluable for a fast-paced work environment that runs on precision. Amazon customers benefit from the diversity of thought and we found that military veterans’ experience in leading people, ability to make quick decisions, and consistently deliver results are propelling our efforts to continuously deliver smiles to customers. Hiring them is not only the right thing to do - but it is good for business.
6. Could you share some examples/success stories of MVs currently employed with Amazon? Also, please share their anecdotes of working with Amazon.
Arun Kumar Singh, GM - Operations - IN AMZL, Sort Center
After spending 32 years in a military environment, second generation Navy veteran Arun Kumar Singh took his first steps into the corporate world in 2021. As an Operations Officer and certified trainer in the Indian Navy, Arun planned and executed missions in complex and tense situations. He completed close to 2000hrs of operational flying over sea onboard Indian Naval maritime aircraft accomplishing various strategic and tactical missions.
Over the last 9 and a half years, Arun has followed the same rigour, discipline, and ownership to scale up Amazon India’s middle-mile operations as the General Manager for Operations. During this time, Arun has held multiple roles while moving up the corporate ladder. He credits his success to his learnings and experiences from the Navy as well as the support he received from Amazon India.
Arun says, “While the working environment may differ, Amazon’s way of working is similar to the modus operandi of the Indian Navy. This coupled with the Day 1 culture made the transition seamless and I was fortunate to have some very good leaders and colleagues who helped me get a soft landing into the corporate world.”
Aparna Gulati, Line Haul Manager, Seller Flex Middle-Mile Pick up team, Amazon India
After 12 years of serving in the Armed Forces, (Retd) Major Aparna Gulati decided to switch her career. During her tenure with the Army, Aparna held various appointments and locations across the country, including high-altitude areas for counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir.
Her entry into civilian life saw her working across multiple companies and, she subsequently joined Amazon India in 2020, Today she plays integral role in Amazon India’s Last mile operations.
Aparna believes that her military training equipped her to perform and execute her role better and parallelly, enabled her to transition into her role in a structured manner. She said, “Amazon is very process-oriented; it follows a similar routine compared to the Army and runs like clockwork. We carry out checks across the floor, nodes, and processes to ensure operations run smoothly, and this is very similar to how we operated in the army.”
Shashidhar Gajjela, Workplace Health, and Safety Officer, Amazon India, Hyderabad Fulfilment centre
After serving the Indian Airforce for 20 years, (Retd) Junior Warrant Officer Shashidhar Gajjela maintains the same standards of disciple and safety in his successful second career.
A veteran who took part in the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Congo, at the Airforce it was Shashidhar’s responsibility to ensure all the planes in his squadron were always ready for battle. It is the same level of vigor and vigilance that helped him smoothly transition to the corporate world as Amazon India’s Workplace, Health and Safety Officer at its Hyderabad Fulfilment Centre. Shashidhar explains that his job involves raising awareness, motivate and ensure that people carry out their activities in a hassle-free manner from a health and safety aspect.
“Amazon’s emphasis on safety process and its prioritization of employee’s health resonated the values I had gained while I had served the Indian Airforce. Be it serving the Mi-25 Attack Helicopter or be it ensuring that everyone follows the safety protocols, IAF and Amazon have been very similar in approach. No lapses will be accommodated with utmost care for people,”says Shashidhar.
7. What are the processes and policies to build a collaborative work culture? What does it take for an organization to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce?
At Amazon India, we foster a culture that offers people equal opportunities to unlock their full potential while empowering them to do more. Our commitment to equality stems across all communities of talent including focused efforts around women, LGBTQI+, military veterans, and the differently abled, amongst others.
We strongly believe that every individual brings a unique perspective to the workplace and adds immense value to our network. Over the last few years, Amazon India has launched multiple initiatives to bring diversity, equity, and inclusion to the workforce. This includes women-operated and owned delivery stations in Chennai and Kadi, Gujarat; centers run and managed by transgender individuals; silent delivery stations in Mumbai; and Military Veterans Employment Program to name a few. We, recently launched an all-women Virtual Customer Service (VCS) facility in Bengaluru, reaffirming our commitment to empowering women with flexible and safe livelihood opportunities. We are continuously introducing initiatives that further strengthen our culture of inclusion and enable us to serve our customers better. Our focus is equally distributed around ensuring diverse employee cohorts are represented in our workforce and in ensuring we have appropriate programs mechanisms for them to thrive at the workplace.