Amazon chief executive and founder Jeff Bezos has hit back at an article in The New York Times published over the weekend that outlined the supposedly ruthless work culture at the company.
The article caused a furore after detailing apparently extreme work practices at Amazon, such as staff having to pay for their own travel and expenses and brutal product feedback meetings.
It also cited interviews with former workers who reported regularly seeing employees in tears at their desk owing to the harsh treatment from managers.
Perhaps the most damning part of the article listed stories of staff who, having suffered miscarriages or illnesses such as cancer, were still required to work and given negative feedback when it affected their performance.
However, Bezos (pictured) issued a memo to staff in response saying that the article does not "describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians [a nickname for Amazon workers] I work with every day".
In the memo, seen by Geekwire, Bezos also dismissed the NYT's portrayal of Amazon as a “soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard” and said that, if true, it would be impossible for Amazon to hire top tech talent.
“I don’t recognise this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either. More broadly, I don’t think any company adopting the approach portrayed could survive, much less thrive, in today’s highly competitive tech hiring market,” he wrote.
Bezos added that if staff do become aware of any of the extreme management practices or tough working conditions cited by the article, they should escalate it with HR, or even himself, directly.
“Even if it’s rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero,” he said.
Bezos is the second CEO to pour scorn on a negative media article about their company over the weekend. Kaspersky founder and CEO Eugene Kaspersky rubbished a Reuters report claiming malware malpractice at the company.
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