Building an environment of trust, empathy, and dignity for each employee, is a precursor to creating a truly inclusive work culture. For Amazon, diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just organizational goals but a way of life. It is a place where people from diverse backgrounds, having unique perspectives, and unconventional ideas come together to invent and innovate on behalf of millions of customers. However, this is not possible until and unless each employee feels safe to express their opinion freely without fear of judgement.
This Pride month, Amazon India is demonstrating our commitment to a gender-neutral culture, with a limited-edition tape that will seal the Amazon brown box and bring your package to your doorstep. The special tape exhibits 11 colors associated with the Pride flag, reflecting the diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community and the spectrum of human sexuality and gender.
Forging inclusivity and acceptance
For many people who identify themselves to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, revealing their real identity in front of their colleagues, and even family, is a life changing moment. The apprehension of being rejected or being treated differently prevents many from coming out of the closet at school, college, and the workplace.
Amazon India believes that a workplace is a space where each employee must feel empowered to be just the way they choose to and walk freely outside the confinements of the closet that they have been accustomed to their entire life. The organization has intentionally taken many steps to foster better inclusivity for the LGBTQIA+ community, who very often are marginalized by traditional societal norms. To support the needs of this community, Amazon India offers a Same Gender Partner Coverage Program, which helps employees enroll their same gender partner in their health insurance program. Employees also have the option to choose a Gender reassignment surgery or sign up for Infertility treatment, both of which are provided as part of the health insurance benefit. The company also supports LGBTQIA+ employees with resources and access to counsellors, through their Employee Assistance Program. The program provides them with resources, counselling, support, and guidance in their journey should they want to become open about their sexuality with their family, friends, or colleagues
My colleagues are interested in learning about my identity and orientation.
Amit, an Amazonian who hails from Delhi, is a testament to Amazon India's inclusive workplace culture. He shares: “I started working with Amazon India in 2018. Amazon has a cohesive work-environment. I never had to put on a false face that I was straight at Amazon, I was out to everyone with confidence from Day 1. My colleagues are interested in learning about my identity and orientation. We have had many positive conversations and I feel happy about educating them..”
Cultivating diversity in the workplace
Global Study of Allies of LGBTQIA+ rights found that 72% of employees across the globe are willing to join companies that treat everyone fairly and equally. Thus, it is imperative for organizations to create an environment where all employees can grow, learn, and contribute positively to the growth of the organization. Amazon recognizes that diversity of leadership attracts and retains diverse talent. Several Amazon programs, such as the global mentorship program, which creates more than 6,000 mentorship opportunities every year, are actively recruiting and helping marginalized communities to advance into senior roles in technology.
Ria is a Senior Applied Scientist in Amazon. She is an out and proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community. She has been out to her colleagues, ever since the beginning of her association with Amazon.
There is a LGBTQIA+ in every body’s life, it’s just that you are unaware of them.
“When I came to terms with my identity, there was very little awareness and representation from the community. I certainly believe putting your identity and profession first is the most important thing, because financial independence goes a long way towards ensuring one's right to speak up. The closet is not where we belong. There is a LGBTQIA+ in every body’s life, it’s just that you are unaware of them. Be an ally, give them a safe space and see them unfold into a vivacious individual”, she says.
Globally, Amazon has 13 affinity groups (employee resource groups) with thousands of employees across hundreds of chapters around the world. Amazon actively recruits diverse candidates through partnerships with different public institutes and universities. To bring about this revolutionizing change in society and in the corporate fraternity, Amazon laid the foundation of Glamazon in 2005; an affinity group for the LGBTQIA+ community. Amazon has more than 200 Glamazon chapters worldwide. In India, the group started operating in 2018 when homosexuality was officially decriminalized. Since then, Amazon India's Glamazon affinity group is making it easier for employees to work in an environment that is inclusive.
With concerted efforts and perseverance, Amazon India envisions a world where pride prevails over prejudice, love over labels, and empathy over stigma. From sensitizing employees to help them remove unconscious bias and driving communication that aims to break stereotypes, to building affinity groups that provide counselling and support to employees in need of it, Amazon India has been pivotal in developing a culture of respect, acceptance, and tolerance.