The Amazing Amazon with Raj Raghavan @ Thane HR

A company that wants to be the most ‘earth centric’, needs an HR to work ‘Customer Backwards’ than ‘Skills Forward’. HR policies need to be framed by keeping customers in mind. Mr. Raj Raghavan, HR Head at Amazon India, shared more such ‘amazing’ stories on the best practices followed by the e-commerce giant – Amazon India – during the February event of Thane HR Group, a group dedicated to bring together the HR talent pool to a common platform.

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Mr. Raj Raghavan, HR Head, Amazon India at Thane HR Group – February 2015

Below mentioned are the best practices at Amazon India:

  1. A Narrative Company

Amazon is a narrative company. Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder, forbids PowerPoint presentations. Instead, the employees are encouraged to put together a 6 page narrative memo, instead of focusing on the Arial vs. Times Roman font in the presentation.

The typical Amazon meeting begins with the participants reading the 6 page memo completely for the first 20 minutes. Mr. Raghavan believes that facts can be hidden in a PowerPoint presentation, but when one has to write down the ideas in complete sentences, deeper clarity is required.

  1. KISS Principle

The Amazon is amazing because it believes in keeping things stupidly simple!  Amazon’s policy aims to de-clutter HR and remove the inept complexities. “Test what is really needed”, believes Mr. Raghavan. Therefore, he is not a fan of the HR surveys. Not only they are time taking, but they are also ‘Anti – Managerial’.

Instead of surveys, Amazon follows an on-going online Questionnaire consisting simple pop-up questions like ‘Did you feel respected at work today?’ or ‘Are you happy working today?’ Such continuous pop-up data provide a more relevant analytics as compared to the one-time surveys.

  1. The Pizza Team

Large teams leads to large structures. Such large structures are often responsible for status-quo in a company. Amazon believes in having minimal teams to get things done.

  1. Inventing on behalf of Customers

It is in the Amazon’s DNA to start with the customers and work backwards. Jeff Bezos is famous for leaving a chair empty at the conference table and letting the attendees know it’s occupied by the most important person in the room – the customer.

Such a customer – centric business needs its employees to listen to the customer value and seek feedback. They need to invent on behalf of their customers. HR, therefore, play an important role to build a culture where mistakes are allowed and employees are encouraged to invent with liberty.

  1. Amazon’s Learning from India

Amazon’s global leadership development program – Pathways – requires a prior work-ex of 8 years. Mr. Raghavan explained that since Indians believe in finishing the MBA at an early stage of their life, they usually do not possess 7 to 8 years of work experience required for Pathways. However, Mr. Raghavan did not want to disadvantage the country’s talent pool. Therefore, they created BOLD – Building Operations Leadership program – to develop participant’s functional and leadership skills through on-the-job learning.

This BOLD program has been highly acknowledged and it may soon go global.

  1. Can I Solve the Problem?

One doesn’t need to wait for performance indicators to measure efficiency, it is simply a matter of self-introspection. Mr. Raghvan explained that the only way to know if one is efficient enough is by asking oneself –‘Can I solve the problem?’ If I cannot solve the problem, then I cannot do the job well! Self – introspection is the key!

Amazon India's Best HR Practises by Mr. Mr. Raj Raghavan, HR Head @ THRG
Amazon India’s Best HR Practises by Mr. Mr. Raj Raghavan, HR Head @ THRG

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Mr. Raj Raghvan was asked his opinions on the e-giant competitors in the market. To this, he replied, “We, at Amazon, focus only on Customers. If our Customers are loyal to us, then we do not need to fear from the competition.” We learn that, being customer centric and reinventing the policies with customers in mind is the way to do business in today’s VUCA world.  

About Thane HR Group

Thane HR Group was founded in the year 1996 with an objective of getting the HR Professionals staying or working in Thane District on a common HR platform. Over a period of 18 years, Thane HR Group had many HR experience sharing meeting. Thane HR has successfully arranged for more than 150 such programs, absolutely free of cost!

You can connect to Thane HR Group through the following website –

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About LNML Maharashtra Institute of Labour Studies

LNML Maharashtra Institute of Labour Studies is an independent department under Maharashtra Labour Ministry. It is one of its kinds in the field of labour studies. It has a glorious past of 67 years and has emerged as a stronger body which has contributed to the economy and industry in many ways.

You can connect to LNML Maharashtra Institute of Labour Studies through the following website –

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4 thoughts on “The Amazing Amazon with Raj Raghavan @ Thane HR

  1. Thanks a lot. Especially bcoz I couldn’t attend due to my professional engagement. You have done good service to ppl like us. Pls. Continue.

    Warm regards


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