Amazon responds to release of leaked documents showing 150% annual employee turnover rate

The disclosure of confidential information about a company’s activities, products, services or employees can create a crisis for organizations by damaging – or further damaging – their credibility, image and reputation.

When documents are leaked, it is good crisis management practice for companies to tell their side of the story. That’s exactly what Amazon did in response to the release of confidential information about its high rate of employee attrition and other issues.

The issues raised by the leaked documents shed light on important aspects of today’s workplace and how business leaders are responding to them – or should – so they don’t create a crisis for their companies.

“The documents paint a bleak picture”

Fingadget received and was the first to report details last week about leaked confidential Amazon documents that were prepared earlier this year. Endgadget said the information showed the online retailer had an annual employee turnover rate of 150%, twice the industry average, costing the company and its shareholders $8 billion a year. .

The documents condemned Amazon “for failing to adequately use or track data in its employee training and promotion efforts, an ironic shortcoming for a company with a reputation for obsessively harvesting consumer insights.” . Fingadget reported.

The documents, “which include several internal research papers, slides and spreadsheets, paint a grim picture of Amazon’s ability to retain employees and how the current strategy may be financially damaging to the organization. as a whole,” according to the outlet.

The documents also “broadly condemn Amazon for failing to adequately use or track data in its efforts to train and promote employees, an ironic shortcoming for a company. [that] has a reputation for obsessively harvesting consumer information,” Fingadget wrote.

Amazon Statement

“We have not had the opportunity to review the draft documents cited in the Engadget article,” Steve Kelly, an Amazon spokesperson, said via email.

“That said, these are most certainly early drafts that haven’t been properly refined or approved, let alone finalized. Basing articles on unverified documents – without knowing when they were written, if they were validated or if they were subsequently corrected – can be misleading, as is the case with the Engadget article.”

“Amazon has a rigorous document review process – often documents never progress beyond draft, are rejected due to lack of reliable data, or are amended with corrected information,” Amazon said in a statement.

“After the Engadget published article, we believe we have been able to identify all of the leaked documents in question and can confirm that none of them have been fully verified or approved,” Amazon said.

Learn from Amazon

CEOs, business experts and HR consultants shared their insights and opinions on Amazon and their thoughts on what business leaders can learn from the company.

“A crisis of culture”

“Amazon’s level of compensation relative to the market is certainly a relevant factor, but the mass abandonment could stem from a culture crisis,” said Robert C. Bird, professor of business law and holder of the Eversource Energy Chair in Business Ethics at the University of Connecticut. , said via email.

“If employees don’t feel valued or see a long-term future for themselves at Amazon, if jobs are available, they will seek employment elsewhere. Every employee who leaves Amazon takes valuable human capital with them. company-specific,” he observed.

“This includes Amazon-specific knowledge and experience that will need to be fully recycled again when hiring replacement workers. Amazon will need to conduct frank introspection to determine the underlying causes of mass employee departures and consider how to restructure their workplace so that employees feel sufficiently valued,” Bird recommended.

Have the right HR policies

“An important lesson business leaders can take away is to have a good work culture and set HR policies that promote trust, inclusion and fairness,” said Adrienne Couch, resource analyst human resources at LLC Services, by e-mail.

“HR policies have a direct impact on the organization’s reputation, employee motivation and retention. Policies guide employees, communicate what the company expects of them, and prevent issues like the mass departure from Amazon,” she noted.

“Employees should be valued”

“While there are many factors to consider before offering pay raises, a raise and other benefits are important for employee motivation and retention,” Couch commented.

“As a business owner, giving employees a performance-based raise shows you appreciate their efforts and motivates them to work harder, in a win-win situation.

“Employees are a crucial resource for a company and should be valued and appreciated. Be considerate of them, listen to their complaints, and provide them with growth opportunities and benefits that fit their lifestyle to give them the best contribution at work,” she concluded.

Create a more positive work environment

Business leaders can learn from[Amazon’s] mistakes and create a more positive and motivating work environment that provides employees with greater job satisfaction,” Berry Moise, business consultant, said via email.

Creating a supportive and positive culture, offering competitive compensation, and providing opportunities for career growth can help reduce high turnover at Amazon,” he advised.

“Give people what they need and want”

“If there’s one thing we can learn from Amazon, it’s that people will leave your organization if you don’t give them what they need and want: fair pay, good balance work-life and respect,” Brian Greenberg, founder and CEO of Insurist, said via email.

“Amazon has failed in all three of these areas, which is why they’ve been losing employees at such an alarming rate. It’s time we all took this lesson to heart and [mad]Make sure our employees know how much they mean to us,” he advised.

“A mixed approach”

“One of the fascinating things here is that Amazon is a salary-driven company. They don’t believe in supplementing total compensation with employee benefits. It clearly doesn’t work. The law firms do the same thing and it doesn’t work,” Amy Spurling, founder and CEO of HR software company Compt, said via email.

“You have to have a mixed approach. First, because there is a cap on what you can pay an employee. Second, because if employees don’t really feel supported (beyond salary, health insurance, and time off), they will absolutely leave,” she predicted.

reality check

“Customer processing and transportation employees will now earn, on average, more than $19 per hour in the United States, and they also have access to a growing range of comprehensive benefits to support themselves and those of their family,” said John Felton, senior vice president of Amazon. president of global operations, said in a statement.

“Continuing to invest in salaries, providing easy access to earned salaries any time of the month, and providing excellent benefits and career advancement opportunities are all part of our long-term efforts to be the best employer in the world. “, he concluded.

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