One former Amazon employee said: “Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk”. Employees also underwent extensive data monitoring on the job and were encouraged to report co-workers’ shortcomings.
Saying that he was “horrified” by a New York Times article recounting callous behavior on the part of Amazon executives, company founder Jeff Bezos warned today that any employees found lacking in empathy would be instantly purged. His point was to say that the report is incorrect and that his company isn’t one that thrives on a total lack of empathy (the article describes employees who suffer from cancer or miscarriages may get “edged out” rather than given a bit of space to bounce back).
“I live and breathe by the Golden Rule, and I believe in kindness, respect, integrity and transparency, and that being a good human being comes before anything else”, Nick Ciubotariu, head of infrastructure development for Amazon search, wrote in a widely read response on LinkedIn on Sunday.
The world’s biggest online retailer has made headlines recently after a New York Times report criticized Amazon’s corporate practices.
They note while companies like Microsoft, Google and Netflix have strengthened their family leave policies, Amazon offers no paid paternity leave.
Bezos said the depiction sounds nothing like the Amazon he founded.
Bezos added that if staff do become aware of any of the extreme management practices or tough working conditions cited by the article, they should escalate it with HR, or even himself, directly.
Bezos previously declined an opportunity to be interviewed for the article, but the Times reporters captured his founding sentiment through prior interviews, speeches he had given and employee accounts of his behavior. It claims that our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard.
In Amazon’s own recruiting video, a young woman warns, “You either fit here or you don’t”.
“The people we hire here are the best of the best”, Bezos said. “When you’re shooting for the moon, the nature of the work is really challenging”, said a top Amazon recruiter, Susan Harker. “And I think Clarkson’s new show is going to be one of those”. In a memo to employees responding to the allegations, Bezos painted a picture of caring Amazonians who are “fun” and “brilliant” and “helping to invent the future, and laughing along the way”.
That’s according to about 100 former and current employees, many on record, who spoke to the New York Times for a scathing profile in its Saturday edition.