In terms of a huge organization like Amazon, workplace culture along with everything else is constantly under change. In an article in the New York Times by Jodi Kantor and David Streitfield, the two authors explore how Amazon ‘wrestles’ big ideas within the massive organization. Workplace culture means having an environment in which employees can thrive, having satisfied and motivated employees, and not treating employees as expendable resources.
For such a large organization like Amazon, change and development are key. To quote tis top recruiter Susan Harker, the type of work that goes on at Amazon is quite challenging and ‘for some people it doesn’t work.’ It is clear that the nature of Amazon is to always be on the move and to continually think of bigger and better ways to serve customers, which extends down to hourly employees as well. However, Amazon’s reputation for its culture is not exactly favorable, even through the words of Harker, an internal figure in the organization. To work at Amazon seems like survival of the fittest and clearly, only the strongest and most fit survive.
As the company has grown, maintaining culture is important. CEO Jeff Bezos has stated that he works hard to do so and that it is his ‘main job today.’ Amazon appears to be a place of great reward that comes at even greater risks and stress. Employees have been reported by other former ones of crying at their desks, being too shell-shocked to react to the good news of a promotion and even being ousted after having suffered major tragedies like cancer and miscarriages. This does not seem like a place that allows for much satisfaction, at least not without the reality of being mentally exhausted and feeling like success is unattainable due to the constant need for change.
The company culture within Amazon may be surprising or unsurprising to some. One employee even quoted that Amazon is where ‘overachievers go to feel bad about themselves.’ In a place that fosters continual competition and seemingly no success in sight, the company has no problem in weeding through as many people as possible to find those who will become ‘Amabots.’ However, research in human resource practice has shown that when employees are treated as people with valuable skills instead of machines, it improves their engagement and productivity and thus, the company’s bottom line.
Amazon is unlike any other company that the business world has seen. Its workplace culture would be thought to be one of envy, given its size and prestige in the world. However, the article has uncovered that its workplace culture is not the best. What Amazon should do to improve is engage and motivate employees instead of beating them down. Its innovation and change goals should remain at its center, but not at the expense of employees.
- Kantor, J., & Streitfeld, D. (2015, August 15). Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace. Retrieved March 07, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/technology/inside-amazon-wrestling-big-ideas-in-a-bruising-workplace.html