Getting a promotion at Amazon isn’t easy,
Brad Stone of Bloomberg Businessweek reports.
Here’s the way it works.
To get ahead at Amazon, your boss has to debate why you deserve a promotion with other managers from the company. If he or she makes an effective case on your behalf, then you get the nod. If not, you wait another 12 months.
These debates take place at two different meetings during the year.
In the first meeting of the year, usually in February or March, According to a leaked presentation of how the system works the senior staff talks about employees to see who’s doing well, and who isn’t, and who is getting a promotion.
In the second meeting, which takes place in September or October, the leaders talk some more about who’s getting a promotion, and talk about who is doing well and who is doing poorly.
Amazon’s managers group employees into three tiers: The top 20%, who are groomed for promotions, the next 70% who are kept happy, and the bottom 10%, who are either let go, or told to get it together.
This system, which was created by Jeff Bezos, is supposed to cut down on politics and in-fighting. Unfortunately, Stone says it has the opposite effect.
“Ambitious employees tend to spend months having lunch and coffee with their boss’s peers to ensure a positive outcome once the topic of their proposed promotion is raised in [the meetings],” says Stone.
Stone also notes that promotions are very limited at Amazon, so if you fight for your employee to get a promotion, it means someone else’s employee gets snubbed. And anyone in the room can nuke someone else’s promotion.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.