Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has pledged that it will double the number of black executives in its senior leadership positions as it ends the year, according to leaked audio of an internal meeting.
Amazon to double black representation in executive roles
The company is also planning to ban “non-inclusive” language like using technical words, which may unconsciously be racists from its documents. The eCommerce retailer will also roll out a training program focusing on inclusivity and diversity. These are massive changes for the company, which has been under criticism over recent years for lack of diversity among senior executive positions in its workforce.
In the leaked internal all-hands meeting recording, the company’s global diversity, equity, and inclusion head Elizabeth Nieto is heard telling workers that Amazon has set new aggressive targets. She explained that these goals involve enhancing workplace diversity to uplift all underrepresented groups. The recent Black Lives Matter movement inspired the move, and Elizabeth said that the countrywide protests reignited the conversation around the longstanding issues of systemic racism. This has impacted Black folks for generations.
Amazon implementing various initiatives to enhance inclusivity
The company’s spokesperson said that Amazon is constantly innovating and learning and long-term inclusion and diversity efforts are not different. The company is therefore setting aggressive goals in its efforts of becoming a top employer for Black folks. The company has indicated that the efforts include doubling Black Directors and Vice Presidents’ representation in 2020 and next year.
Amazon will also increase investments and programming to grow black executives from within. The company said that the initiatives will take place through programs like the $700 million commitment to upskilling. This involves equipping employees with new skills, which will be vital in their work. Also, there will be smaller pilots like Black Employees Network Executive Leadership Development Program.
According to the spokesperson, all employees will require equity, diversity, inclusion, and equity training. The company will also ensure there is inclusive language in software coding to do away with terms like Master/slave and blacklist/whitelist, among others.