Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has rejected claims made over the weekend that his company is a nightmarish place to work.
All the tech buzz over the weekend surrounded an in-depth New York Times report that paints Amazon's workplace practices in an extremely negative light.
The report talked of an inhumane working environment that chewed through highly skilled staff at an unbelievable rate through overwork, endless criticism, a callous attitude to illness and misfortune, and a brutal rating system underpinning it all.
The retail giant also reportedly employs a feedback system that encourages workers to anonymously criticise and denigrate their colleagues.
In a rare move, this report has prompted a response from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos himself, albeit an indirect one. In an internal memo obtained by several sources – including The Verge – Bezos encourages his staff to read the NYT article, as well as a counter-argument from a current Amazonian over on LinkedIn.
"The article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day," says Bezos of the NYT piece.
"But if you know of any stories like those reported, I want you to escalate to HR. You can also email me directly at email@example.com. Even if it's rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero."
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Bezos recognises that the article isn't about isolated incidents, however. "It claims that our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard," he says.
He refutes such a suggestion, offering that no company adopting such an approach "could survive, much less thrive, in today’s highly competitive tech hiring market."
Bezos feels that anyone working within such a company would be crazy to stay, and claims that he himself would leave such a place.
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