The New York Times just published a deep dive into Amazon’s workplace culture.
The piece isn’t exactly flattering.
It shows an office environment filled with tension, where employees are asked to prioritise their work over their personal lives, and where workers are pitted against each other in intense performance review sessions.
One example described in the piece is the “Anytime Feedback Tool,” an internal platform that office workers can secretly use to either praise or critique their colleagues.
The peer evaluations can be submitted to members of the management team at any time, using the company’s internal directory.
Amazon employees are ranked according to their performance, and those at the bottom are eliminated each year in a gruelling process called an Organizational Level Review.
The Anytime Feedback Tool, then, is more than just a way to gossip about your coworkers — it could have a real effect on your standing at the company. An Amazon spokesperson told the Times that feeback generally tends to be positive.
However, the Times continues:
“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. Many others, along with Ms. Willet, described feeling sabotaged by negative comments from unidentified colleagues with whom they could not argue. In some cases, the criticism was copied directly into their performance reviews — a move that Amy Michaels, the former Kindle manager, said that colleagues called ‘the full paste.'”
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.