"Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk."
This was a quote from Bo Olson, a former Amazon employee in a recent New York Times article - Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace.
The article goes into length on Amazon's harsh and highly competitive work environment. It details how employees undermine one another to survive, must put work above all else, and are pushed out when situations beyond their control (aka: life) prevent them from putting the company first.
While the box that arrives at my door is all smiles, working inside Amazon seems anything but.
There's no denying that Amazon has transformed how we shop, and to some extent, live. Perhaps this may not have been possible without their unrelenting push on employees. However, studies have shown that organizations that create trust, loyalty and deep connections with employees, customers and other stakeholders have more long-lasting success.
In the world of business we sometimes forget why we call a business a "company". Company means to be with others, especially in a way that provides friendship and enjoyment. Our organizations are the result of the relationships between the people who work in them, and their success is largely dependent on those relationships.
Connections built on fear and despair will never last and usually cause more harm than good.
It will be interesting to see whether Amazon's ways of treating their employees continue to pay off. I for one think they've forgotten the second half of the saying "Work Hard. Be Nice."