Amazon’s Destructive Culture Exposed – Or Not?

PC: Stephen Woods via Flickr Creative Commons

PC: Stephen Woods via Flickr Creative Commons

From LinkedIn:

Amazon is in some hot water right now. The New York Times article appearing last Saturday has many people wondering if Amazon is the company they thought it was.

The article in the NY Times tells a story of an employee culture where workers are never off the clock. (Oh dear! Welcome to corporate America, I say!) People are apparently expected to work all the time. (Well, if you don’t like it the answer is simple: Find another job.) It also describes managers penalizing people for having family or medical emergencies, and encourage each and every employee to tattletale on their co-workers. One employee interviewed said that it was routine to see people crying at their desk. (In my view the answer is that he or she is in the wrong job). Maybe Amazon should take the Zappo’s example of paying people to leave the company after six weeks of training to ensure they get the right people.

A rebuttal posted by an “Amazonian” denies the validity of the claims published in the Times. However, I believe there is plenty of truth to go around for both sides, and the proof will be in the Amazon pudding as it were.

What do I mean by that? Simply put: if Amazon’s workplace culture is despotic as the NY Times article said it is, then their product and the resulting Customer Experience would be, too. For my part, I don’t believe it’s as bad as all that.

I admire Amazon and what they are doing with their Customer Experience. They continue to strive for excellence in the experience they deliver their Customers. They are always looking for a way to both surprise and delight them; two emotions that are know to drive value for any business. But “Amazon” isn’t a thing doing this; it’s a brand name. It’s the name of the company, which employs a group of people that make these things happen on behalf of the Customer.

The reason I ultimately doubt the validity of widespread employee exploitation and abuse at Amazon is because the employee experience and Customer Experience are linked. I always say, “Happy employees make happy Customers.” I say this because it’s true. When you provide a work environment that fulfills employees and empowers them to do their work, they get excited and inspired to do great things. They become engaged with the company mission and brand promise. And they deliver on it.

The reality is that none of us outside the organization know for certain what is happening inside Amazon. What I do know is their Customer Experience is good. I doubt a culture built on the regular abuse of employees will yield their top performance in Customer Experience. And who can deny that Amazon delivers top performance in Customer Experience?

The full article here on LinkedIn, by Colin Shaw, the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books. Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering shows up time and again in her books.

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Posted in industry news, publishing news

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