Amazon is a tech giant that everyone today knows of, it is one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world and yet when it comes to being a great workplace, Amazon doesn’t feature in the list. In fact, The New York Times exposed the working environment that Amazon offers to its employees and it is everything, but good.
The article in The Times describes a “bruising workplace” where employees are asked to harshly critique their peers, and those suffering personal crises are often pushed out of their positions.
As a compilation from various platforms like Quora Threads, Glassdoor Reviews, and Reddit Comments, here are some of the key drawbacks of working with Amazon
The Stock Vesting
In order to make people stay longer in the organization, Amazon makes them vest in the stocks and the employees’ vest about 80% of their initial stock grant after two years of work
“The thing is most people upon getting the offer would think they’d stay long enough to reap the rewards and end up leaving earlier than they’d planned,” Reddit user examazonsde writes.
“Plus, if you leave within a year, you’ll have to pay back part of your signing bonus. If you leave within two, you’ll also owe part of your relocation fees.”
Unless you want to bring a dog to work and chain it up all day long with your desk, Amazon doesn’t offer many perks to its employees in comparison to other giants like Facebook or Google
“One aspect of Amazon culture that turns many people off is the constant emphasis on frugality,” Eric Aderhold, former software engineer, writes on Quora. “Amazon doesn’t tend to buy lunches for its employees, offer outstanding fully-paid health coverage, match charitable contributions, invest in top-of-the-line workstations for developers to use, or other expensive things that other top employers are known to do. This focus on frugality has helped keep prices low, which in turn has allowed Amazon to grow to the impressive size it is today. The downside is that it’s hard for any company to hire and retain top employees when other companies are willing to offer a bunch of attractive fringe benefits in addition to being competitive salary-wise.”
Long Working Hours
Many people end up working till late in the night and also over the weekends. These working hours though depend on the department you work with, but most employees face the same wrath. Amazon got a 2.7 out of 5 on Glassdoor work-life balance rating. And while even the smaller companies have moved towards offering paternity leaves for the new dads, Amazon doesn’t offer paid paternity leaves.
“Personally I have not met any Amazonian with any other extracurricular activity other than work,” one anonymous former employee writes.
Jeff’s Intervention Changes The Course Of Work
One employee writes: “Jeff Bezos micromanages Amazon. You’ll be working toward your commitments for a sprint when all of the sudden your manager flies in and says you have to drop everything and work on something else. Why? Because Jeff just sent an email to your VP about what your priorities are, and they’re not the same as the ones that he sent in an email last week.”
These kinds of sudden changes in the work profile and priorities lead to a lot of frustration amongst employees. The element of surprise often leaves them exhausted.
Employee Ranking and Elimination
Once a year, the employees are ranked basis their work performance and those at the bottom are eliminated through an internal process called Organization Level Review. Amazon is also the only IT company in the world that uses the “Anytime feedback Tool”, an internal platform through which employees can either praise or critique their peers secretly. This generally creates a competitive streak among employees all the time and leads to a very unhealthy working atmosphere.
According to the New York Times, “Many workers called it a river of intrigue and scheming. They described making quiet pacts with colleagues to bury the same person at once, or to praise one another lavishly.”
A PayScale survey quoted by The New York Times found that Amazon’s median employee tenure is one year only.