Can Amazon reverse the flight of its tech workers?
Recent reports suggest that Amazon.com and its divisions have a serious human resources issue on its hands. Large numbers of the company’s skilled tech staff are leaving the company after determining that the rewards of working for Amazon do not align with their personal and/or professional goals.
Both Bloomberg and Business Insider have reported that corporate staff have been pushing back against what they view as an unrealistically demanding work environment combined with personnel policies that financially benefit Amazon while leaving them feeling shortchanged.
Sarah Schnierer, a senior program manager at Amazon, recently resigned from the company. Before leaving, Ms. Schnierer, who was part of an internal affinity group known as Momazonians, said she was disappointed by what she sees as Amazon’s lack of progress on issues important to its female workers and their children over the past few years.
“While it has been an incredibly rewarding place to work, the pressure often feels relentless and at times, unnecessary,” she wrote. “Employees are burnt out.”
Ms. Schnierer took issue with a corporate policy that freezes scheduled pay increases and stock distribution when employees are forced to take parental or medical leave. The company has since changed the policy to give workers 26 weeks off before it institutes a freeze.
Business Insider reports that Amazon leadership has been reviewing its compensation plans to see if changes are necessary in order to hold on to its top employees. People working inside Amazon who spoke to the publication said there is “an attrition crisis at the company,” with engineers and senior executives jumping ship over pay and corporate culture issues.
Ms. Schnierer expressed surprise that she lasted five-and-a-half years working at Amazon.
“I knew plenty of teams whose version of flexibility was acknowledging that emails wouldn’t be answered until midnight,” she said.
Bloomberg points out that the stress of working at Amazon may seem even worse considering the company’s compensation strategy hasn’t held up well in light of the fact that its share price fell by 24 percent since July.
Amazon caps salaries at $160,000 for its white-collar staff with stock grants added on that vest over four years. The company’s compensation plan has become less competitive with a falling stock price resulting in some highly skilled workers leaving for other companies that offer better pay in less pressurized environments.
- Burnt Out Employees Are Embracing The Great Resignation – Bloomberg
- Amazon changes stock distribution policies after employees complaints – Business Insider
- The Great Exec Exodus at Amazon – The Org
- Amazon faces huge exodus of VPs and other senior executives – Business Insider
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is the turnover of skilled workers at Amazon described in recent reports in line with or below what is seen in other large companies? What would you advise Amazon or a company in a similar situation to do?