Amazon is famous for what it calls its “customer obsession,” but the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting home the fact that without healthy employees, it’s hampered in achieving that mission.
So it’s calling on some of its other “leadership principles” to figure out how to keep employees healthy and on the job, such as “Invent and Simplify.”
Today, Amazon announced that in addition to its operations sites and grocery stores distributing masks to employees and conducting employee temperature checks, a next step might be regular testing of all employees, including those who aren’t showing symptoms. But due to the scarcity of testing, it’s taking a Do It Yourself approach.
Amazon wrote on its corporate blog, “If every person, including people with no symptoms, could be tested regularly, it would make a huge difference in how we are all fighting this virus. Those who test positive could be quarantined and cared for, and everyone who tests negative could re-enter the economy with confidence.”
It has put together a dedicated team of Amazon employees with a variety of skills, including research scientists, to begin the work of building incremental testing capacity. It has begun assembling the equipment needed to build its first lab and said it hopes to start testing small numbers of its front-line employees soon.
“We are not sure how far we will get in the relevant timeframe, but we think it’s worth trying, and we stand ready to share anything we learn with others.”
Amazon is drawing from another one of its leadership principles, “Frugality,” which it explains as accomplishing more with less. “Constraints breed resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention.”
The company also gave a shoutout to employees, calling them heroes who are helping people get the products they need that they might not otherwise be able to get while maintaining social distancing.