Amazon France certified “Top employer”, really?

This is a historic first for Amazon France. The e-commerce giant has received “Top Employer” certification for all of its activities based in France (website, logistics, cloud service, etc.). And intends to let it know. “We are constantly improving the experience of our employees and our HR processes. This certification represents for us the opportunity to promote these actions”, says Laetitia de Montgolfier, HR Director of Amazon France Logistique.

The “Top employer” label is awarded by the Top Employers Institute, which audits and evaluates on request the internal practices and processes of large groups in terms of quality of life at work, through 100 questions relating to 600 practices on ten major themes ( recruitment, integration, training, qualification, remuneration, corporate culture, etc.). To be certified, companies must not only compile a file but also submit supporting documents. Only organizations achieving a score of 60% in the benchmark can be labeled in fine. Note that, unlike the methodology of other organizations (Great Place to Work, Glassdoor, etc.), employees are not here at any time surveyed or involved in the evaluation of the labeling process. The service is, moreover, not free. “The minimum entry ticket is 17,500 euros per year”, specifies Laurent Modiano, senior account manager at Top Employers Institute. This year, 91 companies were certified in France out of 200 participants (110 of which went to the end of the process), including Alstom, BNP Paribas, Lidl, Heineken France, and therefore for the first time, Amazon. However, it is impossible to know the rank of the logistics giant in this selection. “We do not communicate it to the general public, but from experience, it is rare that a group directly integrates the top 10 during its first participation”, we slip on the side of Top Employers Institute. For comparison, Amazon came in 11th in the Glassdoor ranking.

Restore the employer image

What is the interest for Amazon to engage in this “process” now, when the juggernaut has been pinned down for years for its difficult working conditions in French warehouses and its tense social climate? Amazon, which employs 9,300 people in France

The e-commerce giant has received “Top Employer” certification for all of its activities based in France (website, logistics, cloud service, etc.). And intends to let it know. “We are constantly improving the experience of our employees and our HR processes. This certification represents for us the opportunity to promote these actions”, says Laetitia de Montgolfier, HR Director of Amazon France Logistique.

The “Top employer” label is awarded by the Top Employers Institute, which audits and evaluates on request the internal practices and processes of large groups in terms of quality of life at work, through 100 questions relating to 600 practices on ten major themes ( recruitment, integration, training, qualification, remuneration, corporate culture, etc.). To be certified, companies must not only compile a file but also submit supporting documents. Only organizations achieving a score of 60% in the benchmark can be labeled in fine. Note that, unlike the methodology of other organizations (Great Place to Work, Glassdoor, etc.), employees are not here at any time surveyed or involved in the evaluation of the labeling process. The service is, moreover, not free. “The minimum entry ticket is 17,500 euros per year”, specifies Laurent Modiano, senior account manager at Top Employers Institute. This year, 91 companies were certified in France out of 200 participants (110 of which went to the end of the process), including Alstom, BNP Paribas, Lidl, Heineken France, and therefore for the first time, Amazon. However, it is impossible to know the rank of the logistics giant in this selection. “We do not communicate it to the general public, but from experience, it is rare that a group directly integrates the top 10 during its first participation”, we slip on the side of Top Employers Institute. For comparison, Amazon came in 11th in the Glassdoor ranking.

Restore the employer image

What is the interest for Amazon to engage in this “process” now, when the juggernaut has been pinned down for years for its difficult working conditions in French warehouses and its tense social climate? Amazon, which employs 9,300 people in France (and 7,500 temporary workers in the event of activity peaks), would it have difficulty recruiting and retaining its employees? Would the group’s poor employer image start to penalize its brand image with customers?

“This certification will allow us to clarify certain myths that may circulate about us. We could have asked for it in 2019 but it turns out that the process to be followed to obtain certification is extremely rigorous and requires a significant investment of time from the HR teams, in particular to respond to the numerous audits and questions asked, explains Laetitia de Montgolfier. In recent years, we have particularly invested in actions to promote employee engagement or training, notably with the creation of the Amazon school last year “, she adds. This internal school trains employees. volunteers (currently a dozen) to obtain a professional title of order picker over six weeks Team events (“red nose days”, “egg hunts”, massage days, magic shows), assignments of free actions, remuneration above the minimum wage for the least qualified positions, mentoring … “84% of the employees we interviewed through our internal survey tool ‘Connections’ say they are satisfied with their position and seven out of ten would recommend working at Amazon to their relatives “, claims the HRD of the logistics branch who says” do not encounter any recruitment problem “.

“Major litigation projects in progress”

A flattering observation that leaves Julien Vincent skeptical. “It doesn’t surprise me that the management invests in this type of boat classifications. It needs to improve its image because major internal litigation projects are underway”, cowardly from the outset the central delegate CFDT of Amazon France logistics. According to our information, the union intends to attack Amazon France in the coming weeks before the industrial tribunal for non-compliance with the collective trade agreement. For the union, the group would not respect the branch classifications applied in the event of multi-skilling of positions which require higher remuneration than those allocated by the group. “For the first wave, we should file the files of at least 80 employees on almost all of the group’s sites in France by the end of the first quarter,” says Julien Vincent.

The union relies in particular on a very critical decision by the permanent joint negotiation and interpretation committee (CPPNI) of the collective agreement for non-food retail businesses, rendered on December 20, 2017. Led by union and employer representatives from the branch, this commission unanimously ruled that the job classification developed by Amazon, with two levels against six in the collective agreement, was “contrary to legal and contractual provisions”. According to the joint committee, originally requested by the CFDT Amazon, this classification prevents “all prospects of development and progression for employees, as well as the recognition of their skills and their real experience”, calling on the group to “to come into conformity”. This notice was finally canceled for technicality. “In public opinion, this opinion marked us with a hot iron, but the alleged fault is no longer valid,” laments the management. The group has now also left the collective agreement for commerce in favor of that for transport and logistics, which is notably more flexible on obligations related to night work. “We have three years to claim the precedence”, specifies the trade unionist.

Amazon already convicted at first instance

On this same question of classifications, other actions have been undertaken for several years, they, carried by the CGT and especially centered on positions of forklift operators, in particular in Orléans where the group was condemned in February 2019 or in Montélimar and Châlon -on-Saône where the industrial tribunal this time ruled in favor of Amazon in the first instance. “These files are in progress,” confirms Laetitia de Montgolfier, who wishes to point out that “we have always respected the classification linked to our collective agreement and that our employees are always remunerated beyond the minimum conventional branch”. It also insists on the development and training opportunities offered to everyone.

Another procedure on the fire, Amazon was sentenced in December 2019 in Montélimar for having circumvented the prerogatives of the establishment committee in the organization of internal events on the Drôme site which employs around 800 people on permanent contracts. “The company is investing colossal sums in the organization of events that fall under the CE monopoly through gourmet days, juggling shows or even the distribution of free coffee. This decision will allow us to increase our budget for works. social “, insists the trade unionist CFDT who promises other actions. “This is only the beginning. At Amazon, social dialogue does not exist as long as we do not initiate proceedings. We are tired of being carried around for trifles”, he adds. denouncing working conditions “which have not improved”, but also “systematic payroll errors on bonuses” and abuse of the time limits for processing work stoppages which lead to delays in compensation and compensation for magnitude. In short, un good social climate for the opening within a few weeks of mandatory annual negotiations on compensation.