Re-defining what effective global EHS development looks like at Amazon

24 October 2021 by Anna Keen
blog author

Picture this: it’s 2017 and you’re working as the Corporate EHS Director for Amazon. You’re leading a rapidly growing Global Real Estate EHS team, and each member is based in a different region. To make matters more challenging, you’re looking to establish a development strategy that enables a consistent approach to EHS across the function that also allows for local flexibility in each region.

Four years ago, this was the exact reality that Graham Finn was facing and, four years ago, this was where Acre Frameworks stepped in to equip his team with the skills needed at an individual and group level to drive meaningful change across the globe.

So, what does a four-year development partnership actually look like?

At Acre Frameworks, we believe that we'd be doing our clients a disservice by assuming that everyone in their team is working with a growth mindset. The simple fact is that not everyone is ready and willing to change. So, we approach development differently.

We started Amazon’s development journey with our Discovery process which required everyone in the team to complete our market-leading non-technical skills assessment. This then formed the basis of reflective discussions where we asked each person to consider their personal and professional motivations, their accountability in their role and what would be in it for them to change. We like to think of this phase of development as helping participants unlock their ‘why.’

Once everyone was in a position where they were ready and willing to learn, we began one-to-one coaching programmes with each team member. This phase, in particular, gave people permission to step back from their ever-growing workloads to really explore how they could leverage their own strengths, and put practical strategies in place to overcome any of their limiting behaviours.

Alongside the individual interventions we put in place, we also delivered a number of in-person workshops to help the team understand how their personal development could contribute to their collective goals, and to help them acquire critical skills to perform more effectively as a group.

How did this change when the team could no longer meet in person?

In 2020, Graham’s team became our first client to roll out Learning Pods which are our solution to more effective virtual training environments. For a team heavily focused on delivery, the pandemic challenged their ability to collaborate effectively and serve the business as well as they wanted to. Being able to set small, frequent pockets of time aside to reflect, collaborate and develop together had a transformative impact on the team at a time where EHS professionals were struggling to find the headspace to think beyond the immediate demands of a rapidly changing work environment.

How far has the EHS team at Amazon come and what impact has this had on them?

We may be biased, but we take immense pride in seeing how much stronger the team has grown since we first started working with them. The benefits of one-to-one coaching and a new approach to team workshops have been undeniable, resulting in multiple promotions throughout the team and clear succession as they continue to grow.

Don't just take our word for it though, here's what some of the team had to say:

If you’re curious to learn more about how a development partnership like this could transform your team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at or by calling +44 (0)20 7400 5570.

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