As the second wave of COVID-19 engulfs India, workplaces around the country have turned into a melting pot of emotions, from distress to despondence. At Amazon, employees have stepped up to help colleagues in need, and what began as heartfelt individual offers of assistance has turned into a full-fledged cause: a dedicated group of COVID Warriors who are reaching out to offer aid and collaborate across the country to support those who require urgent medical help.
The team works round the clock and directly with HR and Benefits teams, ready to go above and beyond their call of duty to support colleagues, their families, and friends. From helping to find hospital beds, plasma donors, ambulances, and isolation centers, to addressing queries on claims, insurance, leave and salary advances, these Warriors are doing everything it takes to help fellow Amazonians and their loved ones.
The group now spans 30 cities and is made up of over 900 volunteers, with a plan to offer support in an additional 11 cities soon. These city bands work together to ensure a coordinated response for those in need across Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Trivandrum, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Mangalore, Indore, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Jaipur, Salem to name a few. Each city’s Warrior band has a leader, a clear operating model, and rosters with a division of responsibilities and duty shifts. This decentralized framework is braced with central support from subject matter experts in HR, Employee Benefits, Compliance, and other departments, who share regular updates and drive process improvements based on the Warriors’ feedback.
“Displaying their quintessential Amazonian spirit, our employees are coming together to selflessly help each other in this time of crisis,” said Deepti Varma, Director, Human Resources, Amazon India. She added: “Amazon India has enormous collective strength as a community, and the COVID Warriors program is leveraging the strength and support from fellow colleagues to fight together.”
The Warriors' efforts have cast a ray of light on these gloomy times, and messages of gratitude streamed in from employees who have received their help. One such message from Ali, an employee in the UK, read: “Thank you for your tremendous response. My mother told me how kind and supportive the whole team has been. [My parents] are all alone, so this support by Amazonians means a lot." Another from Ayesha in Jaipur said: “Thank you so much team for this. This really means a lot! Our family really appreciates this help in these tough times.”
*Names changed to protect privacy.