Performance management is all too often a wolf dressed up in sheep’s clothing. Touted as a path to self-improvement for employees, such programs are actually structured to get rid of people. And forget about employee review plans. They might as well come with a pink slip. This hard fact became apparent at the end of November when an Amazon employee survived a leap off a 12-story building at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. The employee had previously sent a public email to CEO Jeff Bezos as well as hundreds of his colleagues. According to sources, he had applied for a transfer but instead was put on an “employee improvement plan.” In corporate speak this means: “you’re toast.”
I have written before about the toxic culture at Amazon, which was exposed in this New York Times article. Amazon isn’t the only company to take on this practice. Kimberly-Clark and Proctor & Gamble were also notorious for this. This sort of toxic environment doesn’t bode well for productivity in the long term—and it certainly has done no favors to national reputation for any company.
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