New training program helps struggling learners

by Brett Henebery30 Jan 2017

Internet giant Amazon is rolling out a new training program designed at helping underperforming employees.

The program, called ‘Pivot’, is being rolled out this week and pairs struggling learners with ‘Career Ambassadors’ who provide guidance and support for a fixed period of time.

According to an internal email obtained by Business Insider, Pivot is a program for employees “who show a sustained period of underperformance, despite coaching and support”.

It provides employees with three options, to:

  • improve performance;
  • voluntarily leave Amazon with severance, or
  • appeal their manager’s decision to place them in Pivot

“Throughout an employee’s time in the Pivot program, they receive process guidance and support from a dedicated team of Pivot subject matter experts called Career Ambassadors (CAs),” read the email.

The push comes as the technology giant seeks to improve its unpopular performance improvement plan, more commonly known as “PIP,” which is designed to put pressure on those deemed to be failing to reach their goals.

Employees who are placed on PIP can access the Pivot program. Previously, PIP did not provide any coaching or training, according to a 2014 Gawker report.

According to one person familiar with the matter, Amazon’s HR managers said during an internal conference call that the new Pivot program is “our way of coaching and enforcing changes in behaviour” and a “necessity” to ensure performance of their teams.