Amazon is Hardly Doing it the Right Way

In today’s world, everything has become quantifiable. People love numbers, and we see them being used in every walk of life. Data is becoming the new language, to the extent that we are living our lives based on numbers and trying to improve our lifestyles as a result.

Keeping this in view, years ago Amazon started using the concept of data-driven management, and the company was thought to be at the cutting edge of technology. But a recent New York Times article has exposed some pretty serious concerns regarding Amazon’s use of data to manage its workforce, and it’s very clear that the company is hardly doing it the right way.

Employees Being Pushed Too Far

The article makes it clear that the employees at Amazon are being pushed to their breaking point, to the extent that seeing co-workers crying out of stress has become common. People are working up to 100 hours every week, and there is no balance left in their professional and personal lives.

For Amazon, the ideal employee is like an ‘athlete’ whose performance is based on numbers. While data-driven management, as a concept, is not inherently wrong or bad, the way Amazon is employing it to manage its workforce is hardly the right way.

A Lost Opportunity

What Amazon has apparently failed to realize is that measuring individual employee performance is best used when employees are encouraged to improve on their shortcomings. If used correctly, this can be a very efficient way to help employees reach their potential.

Instead, Amazon is using these metrics to create a sense of brutal competition among its employees. It is using these numbers to make its employees realize what they are doing wrong, but it’s not giving them the room to improve themselves. The employees at Amazon are meant to berate themselves based on their performance data, and they are supposed to impress their executives with their work. There seems to be no room for mistakes at all.

An Unbalanced Hierarchy

Of course, after all of this went down, Amazon executives struck back and defended themselves saying that the transparency of opinion and data is used to get the most out of their employees and not to ‘beat them down’.

However, if Amazon does want to enforce such transparency in the hopes of helping employees do better, then the employees should be allowed to voice their criticism as well. It is very easy for executives to dish out negative criticism all the time when it’s the lower-tier employees out of whom relentless work is expected all day.

Good or Bad, It’s Up to You

Many people agree that data-driven management techniques will become more and more common with time. After the news regarding Amazon, however, people are not sure anymore whether it is the right way to go forward. They should know that one company’s inability to use numbers the right way does not mean that the whole premise of using them to help employees improve at what they do is wrong.

Just like everything, it can be good or bad based on how you use it. This can be a very effective way of letting employees know where they are falling short and give them focused training sessions to help improve those areas. At the end of the day, it’s not about data-driven management being wrong. Rather, it’s about a company who is hardly doing it the right way.

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