Jeff Bezos, The CEO and founder of Amazon said that his e-commerce behemoth needs to do a “better job” for its employees.
He communicated the message in his latest and final shareholder letter that he would write as the CEO. After taking a victory lap, bragging about the beat down the union supporters took earlier this month as they tried to organize at an Amazon distribution center in Alabama, Bezos then did some inflection. And admitted they could do better.
“I think we need to do a better job for our employees. While the voting results were lopsided and our direct relationship with employees is strong, it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for how we create value for employees – a vision for their success.”
Amazon has been getting hammered on social media and in news reports. The narrative is many employees are treated like a piece of meat, with uncaring, obnoxious and ruthless management pushing them to hit unrealistic goals.
Not true Bezos says. “In those reports, our employees are sometimes accused of being desperate souls and treated as robots. That’s not accurate. They’re sophisticated and thoughtful people who have options for where to work.”
In the letter, Bezos referenced an employee survey that sows 94% would recommend Amazon to a friend as a great company to work for. Contrary to stories that say employees are forced to urinate in water bottles or risk the wrath of their manager, Bezos said workers are permitted to take informal breaks when they need to. During that time, they can stretch, get water, or talk to a manager.
“We don’t set unreasonable performance goals. We set achievable performance goals that take into account tenure and actual employee performance data. Performance is evaluated over a long period of time as we know that a variety of things can impact performance in any given week, day, or hour. If employees are on track to miss a performance target over a period of time, their manager talks with them and provides coaching,”
One final note Bezos pointed out in the letter is Amazon now has 1.3 million employees world wide after hiring 500,000. All told, the company paid $91 billion wages across the company.