By Dr. Marie Gould Harper
Dean, School of Business, American Public University
Amazon is an exciting organization for its employees. In today’s environment where convenience is critical, the company has garnered enough support from customers who value the ability to purchase items online.
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Consumers love Amazon for its convenience and variety, especially the Prime service. However, some employees have expressed concerns about the work-life balance equation, as well as the company’s support of a cutthroat internal culture.
Does Consumer Loyalty + Employee Satisfaction = Organizational Effectiveness?
I was once told that there are three sides to a story. There is the perception of both parties involved, and then there is the truth.
In the case of Amazon, what is the truth in regard to work-life balance and its internal culture? The answers depend on who you ask and what questions you ask that person.
Amazon continues to do well financially, and customers are loyal and content with the quality of service. However, should customer satisfaction come at the expense of Amazon employees?
Amazon among Many Companies Who Must Balance Both Profit-Making and Employee Satisfaction
Amazon is not alone. Many organizations face this type of dichotomy when they attempt to balance making a profit and maintaining high levels of employee satisfaction, especially in the current labor market that has been challenging to talent acquisition and retention.
Amazon’s leaders have decided that this high-pressure, heavily demanding internal culture works for them. But they have also elected to find ways to improve employee morale and offer options to challenge employees and make them consider if they work for the right organization. For example, some of Amazon’s initiatives include:
- Pledges to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. That move could meet the need of employees who view money as a motivator to be satisfied with their jobs.
- Learning opportunities to employees interested in expanding their careers and skill sets
- An employee feedback program to understand the needs of the workforce
Amazon Also Offers an Unusual $5,000 Incentive for Unsatisfied Employees to Leave the Company
One of Amazon’s other initiatives stood out to me, because it speaks to our responsibility to take control of our destiny. Once a year, Amazon offers its full-time associates up to $5,000 to leave the organization if they are not happy.
Some people may view this approach as wrong when an organization should be working to retain employees, especially in a tight labor market. However, what about employees who feel stuck? This financial incentive could be a perfect opportunity to start anew in a different career, especially if someone was afraid to make a move to another company due to financial concerns.
In 2020, Consider Where You Are in Your Career and Where You Want to Be
As we begin in 2020, think about where you are. Is it where you want to be? It may be time to explore new adventures and new careers.
About the Author
Dr. Marie Gould Harper is the Dean of the School of Business at American Public University. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in business from Capella University. She is a progressive coach, facilitator, writer, strategist and human resources/organizational development professional with more than 30 years of leadership, project management, and administrative experience. Dr. Gould Harper has worked in both corporate and academic environments.
Dr. Gould Harper is an innovative thinker and influential leader, manifesting people skills, a systematic approach to problems, organizational vision and ability to inspire followers. She is committed to continuous improvement in organizational effectiveness and human capital development, customer service and the development of future leaders.