Minimum wage at Amazon officially increased to $15 for all U.S. employees. This includes seasonal workers and those hired through temporary agencies. The increase is double the federal minimum, which Amazon says it will lobby Washington to raise in tandem.
Currently, employers are only required to pay $7.25 an hour. It’s been this way for almost a decade. Some states have raised their minimum wage higher, but the more labor intensive positions are feeling the pressure.
“In San Francisco, our wages are far from competitive because the minimum wage rates here were recently raised to $15,” a store manager for Crate and Barrel said when asked about the changes. “For some positions, that’s the most we can offer. I always felt lucky when I found someone competent who was willing to work in the stockroom―working early mornings, dealing with unloading a truck on an urban street and helping customers squeeze their purchases into compact vehicles. You can do much less for minimum wage.”
Founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, is thinking strategically as we approach the holiday shopping season. The tech leader that employs more than 200,000 in the U.S., needs to attract an additional 100,000 seasonal employees.
Let’s break it down to understand his logic.
The unemployment rate is at its lowest. Ever. Bezos knows this. What you might not realize is that at 352 percent, the staffing industry ranks the highest in turnover. With those numbers, the amount spent on recruiting and training is considerable. Increasing wages will help you retain your employees. It’s cost effective.
Jobs at Amazon warehouses and sorting centers have increased by more than 50 percent, but the wages and conditions for those workers have been criticized by Senator Bernie Sanders and labor organizers. Sanders protested that an alarming number of Amazon employees were on public assistance and reports surfaced claiming that bathroom breaks no longer existed.
Things don’t have to escalate to that level. Employees are working for wages, but they’re not just workers. Think of them as your best critics. Ask them how to be better.
“What’s important for me is the existing company culture created by the founders. If a company wants to develop a good relationship with their employees so that they stay with them and have a stake in it, then that’s what they’ll have to do―value that employee. It’s all about the sense of mission. People will work for less if they believe in what you’re doing.”