You’re awash with a tremendous sense of hope and faith, the minute you set foot in this Sort Centre in Chennai. The people working here exude a palpable feeling of pride and gratitude that you just can’t ignore. Dignity and self-confidence are writ large upon the faces of the women workforce, persons with disabilities, and the transgenders who run the show at Amazon’s new Sort Centre.

For these are the faces that till yesterday had lost all hope of ever being included into the mainstream workforce, of ever being offered meaningful employment, and lay hidden with their talents waiting to be explored. This has now changed.

“Thanks for recognizing our need for work and providing us with a job opportunity. We suffered during the lockdown without work and are really happy to work with Amazon,” says Geeta (name changed) a transgender associate working at this Sort Centre. Shares Govind (name changed), a person with disability working at the centre, “Very few companies come forward and provide us with opportunities to prove ourselves. I am thankful for this opportunity and I am happy and proud to work with Amazon.”

Diversity, equity and inclusion at work

MAAY sort centre pics

In line with its commitment to foster a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion, this is Amazon India’s second Sort Centre to be entirely managed by those under-represented in the mainstream workforce, including women, transgender individuals, persons with disabilities and military veterans, among others.

Savithri, an associate who is Speech and Hearing Impaired, says, “This is my first job and I thank Amazon for providing me the opportunity! All colleagues treat us equally and we feel a happy part of this work environment." Echoing this thought is Karthika, who says, “I really feel proud that we are treated and paid equally!”

Designed ahead of the festive season, the sort centre will have women associates working in the night shift, in compliance to the State statute and the site will be managed by women managers.

Amazon always believes that every individual brings a unique perspective to the workplace and adds immense value to its network. Over the last few years, Amazon India has launched multiple initiatives to bring diversity, equity and inclusion in the workforce. This includes initiatives such as women-operated and owned delivery stations in Chennai and Kadi, Gujarat; centres run and managed by transgender individuals; silent delivery stations in Mumbai; and the Military Veterans Employment Program. The all-women Virtual Customer Service (VCS) facility in Bengaluru is yet another example of DEI at work.

Amazon India’s efforts are not only aimed at ensuring that diverse employee cohorts are represented in our workforce, but also in making sure that there are appropriate programmes and mechanisms for everyone to thrive at the workplace.