So training employees and giving them job skills in other high-demand industries (not related to the industry your company competes in) is madness--right? You're incentivizing them to leave--no one would do that.
The program is called Amazon Career Choice. Jeff Bezos described it as "For hourly associates with more than one year of tenure, we pre-pay 95 percent of tuition, fees, and textbooks (up to $12,000) for certificates and associate degrees in high-demand occupations."
Here are the four in-demand fields that Amazon will fund training for:
1. Health care
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that health care occupations (such as nurse and dental hygienist) will grow at an 18 percent clip and add 2.4 million jobs by 2026, faster growth than any other of the bureau's recorded occupations and driven by the aging population. Average salaries are more than $64,000.
2. IT and computer science
The BLS predicts job growth of 13 percent, with 554,000 jobs added by 2026 and a robust average salary of more than $84,000.
Transportation and material moving jobs will increase 6 percent and add 634,000 jobs by 2026, according to the BLS.
4. Mechanical and skilled trades
These high-demand jobs include instrument technicians, airplane mechanics, and service shop managers, with salaries in the high $80's and $90's, according to CNBC.
So, not only can you get training in a hot field, Amazon makes it easy for you to get that training by holding classes onsite in Amazon facilities.
I wonder if when employees graduate from one of these programs, their diploma is printed on a (friendly) pink slip--because it all but guarantees they are outta there in most cases.
And yet this program is so smart.
Here's why Amazon's training its employees to leave is genius
The average median pay at Amazon is $28,446, which is low compared to other tech giants like Facebook or Google (which have median salaries of $240,000 and $200,000, respectively). That's an indication that Amazon has a lot of lower-wage, warehouse-type jobs that have higher turnover rates than much higher paying tech roles.
Amazon effectively embraces this reality and figures: Why not make these important laborers as happy as they can be in the time they are going to give to Amazon?
Juan Garcia, a global leader for associate care at Amazon, put it this way:
"We offer training paths that could very likely lead to opportunities and careers outside of Amazon, but we think if we can help people realize their dreams, we want to be a part of it."
And therein lies the brilliance.
Amazon is showing it cares about the whole employee. Research shows that employees deeply value the opportunity to keep learning and growing and to become better versions of themselves--it's a source of profound meaning for them.
If you think back in your career to a time when you weren't happy or didn't feel fulfilled, there's a darn good chance it was during a time when you weren't learning and growing. When you quietly wondered, "Am I wasting my time here?"
Amazon is smart enough to realize that employees in some of the lower-paying jobs don't aspire to be there forever, so why not serve a higher purpose--the fulfillment of dreams, not just orders. And, by the way, it's a purpose that reflects well on the Amazon brand in the eyes of employees.
More than 16,000 Amazon employees in 10 countries have participated in the Career Choice program. I'm betting the vast majority of them have left Amazon. I'm also willing to bet that Amazon has created suction for employees to replace them because of the very existence of the Career Choice program.
You'll pay me to learn the job I really want while also paying me to do an important job for your company?
Sign me up.
So, yes, maybe Amazon is just renting employees in some cases. But the service time they get has got to be higher quality and more engaged.
I'm not suggesting that anyone reading this can pull this off at his or her company or should institute practices that create an exodus of talent.
The big takeaway here is that in a war for labor (which we're in the middle of), it pays to be creative in supporting your employees' skill and career development.
How might you "Amazon" your own approach to this?