A former Amazon contract worker has written an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos that brutally dissects his temp hiring policies: “the revolving door of new hires encourages low quality work, inconsistent productivity and wastes useful resources on training,” Steven Barker wrote, after spending 11 months as a contract worker developing Amazon’s X-Ray for TV and Movies.
Barker alleges that Amazon has a policy of hiring temporary contract workers who are let go when they’ve served 11 months, preventing them from becoming permanent employees.
The result is that important projects at Amazon such as X-Ray (which allows Kindle users to tap the screen for more info on characters in movies) end up being run by poorly motivated temps, and those temps end up training the new temps, in an endless cycle of increasingly inexperienced, demotivated employees who have no incentive to do quality work because Amazon is “a dead end.”
Here is an excerpt:
Although it may seem like the company is saving money — because you don’t have to provide temporary workers with medical coverage or paid vacation time — the revolving door of new hires encourages low quality work, inconsistent productivity and wastes useful resources on training.
… Since the new manager never completely grasped the program, she asked a select few of the oldest temps to train the newest temps. It seemed to me that these people were not chosen based on merit or capability, but more like she was putting together her own collection of “cool” kids. The best way to be put in a leadership role was be a pretty girl or a dude who used liberal amounts of Axe hair gel.
As experienced temps left and new ones rolled in, the breakdown began. Temps who had not paid attention in training were now training new temps.
… By my final month, it was difficult to care.
… There will always be an endless supply of replacements, and they will be paid less since the pay rate of the team decreased with every new batch of hires. My replacement will probably work really hard for about six months, and then realise that they are cruising towards a dead end. They might start caring a little less.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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