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How You Can Avoid Amazon’s HR Nightmare

How You Can Avoid Amazon’s HR Nightmare

Amazon is facing their biggest HR nightmare to date. It’s a problem big enough to warrant CEO Jeff Bezos to call for an internal investigation. According to the New York Times, the investigation brought to light a scary realization for Amazon’s HR teams—many employees were facing paycheck shortages for things like parental and medical leaves. And beyond shortening paychecks, there were many other issues tied together—technology issues, understaffing and lack of proper training.

It just goes to show that—no matter the size of the company—HR nightmares can happen to anyone. But HR pros know you can prepare for the worst. Here are some tips and tricks to avoid falling victim.


All-in-One HRIS to Streamline Operations One System

One contributing factor was Amazon’s use of multiple systems to track employee leave, causing a traffic jam in their work flow. Using an all-in-one human resource system like BerniePortal not only makes it easier to keep track of employee leave, but it also ensures all employees are trained on the same system, leaving less room for error. 


For example, BerniePortal has a self-service Time & Attendance feature for employees to clock in/out of their work day and request manager approval on real time changes to their time sheets. BerniePortal also allows for HR managers to approve paid/unpaid time-off requests, pull labor reports, and set IP restrictions for employee clock-ins—all in one place. Using one system and investing the time to train employees on that system will help you catch cracks before they break the foundation.


We also suggest routinely checking that your HRIS system is working properly and efficiently. This could involve pulling reports and cross-checking that information is correct or sending out a company survey, asking if employees have noticed any faults in the system. Assuring your Time & Attendance reports are accurate will result in your payroll department pushing out paychecks that reflect the correct amount. Catching seemingly small tech issues early on will save you time and a lot of headaches.


In the spirit of keeping up with compliance, we suggest having each employee sign off that they have reviewed the company leave policy and know what to do should they be in a position where they need time off. Clear expectations eliminate those “he said/she said” HR headaches.

Communicate with employees… A Lot!

A good way to prevent a minor HR issue from turning into a catastrophe is keeping in constant communication with employees. Utilizing a Performance Management system can help encourage employees to communicate feedback with managers through 1:1 meetings and surveys.  


Managing private email concerns can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are an HR party of one. At BerniePortal, our HR leader uses a ticket system to organize email and has a SMART goal associated with email response time, holding us accountable for attending to the needs and feedback from our employees. We also manage concerns through a 1:1 tool in the Performance Management feature, allowing HR and managers to have a track record of anything discussed between an employee and a manager. 


Amazon missed an opportunity to properly educate their employees on company policies, which ultimately led to confusion for all parties involved. BerniePortal’s Compliance feature conveniently stores documents and notices, sends out reminders to view and sign, and generates reports on company compliance. This feature allows for custom document uploads that may be more unique to your company—like a Culture Guide or Manager Handbook—will tell you who has viewed/signed each compliance document. Keeping track of company compliance is not an option; it’s a must.


We often forget that the secret to managing people is simple: communication, a lot of it. Communicating changes and company policies will not only prevent issues, but it also makes employees feel like they are valued at work. Amazon could’ve prevented turmoil by investing in one system and cross-team communication on policies.

Hire Away

If your company knows that a busy season is coming or that a new company policy will load up your HR team's plate with employee inquiries, it may be time to hire. Hiring new employees is never an easy task and has gotten increasingly difficult since the pandemic, but using an Applicant Tracking System can help attract and manage candidates. Once you have hired new team members, utilize an Onboarding checklist to make sure the new hire completes all the proper training needed for success. Investing in your team starts from the very beginning.

Getting Ahead

The HR nightmare at Amazon is one no team wants to find themselves tackling. The good news is that there are ways to stop it before it happens. BerniePortal is more than an HRIS software solution. We’re here to help you face your HR fears. See a demo today.


BernieU Course: Paid Time Off Tutorial: How to Build and Audit a Great PTO Policy

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