Internal company documents seen by The Seattle Times, point to the practice of stack ranking at Amazon, but the tech giant's spokesperson has said, "We do not, nor have we ever, stack ranked our employees."
According to internal company documents seen by The Seattle Times, Amazon reportedly attempts to oust 6% of its office employees each year based on an algorithm-driven "unregretted attrition" metric which resembles the practice of 'stack ranking'.
Stack ranking is a practice where managers are asked to grade employees on a bell curve to differentiate them into the top, middle or bottom categories according to their performance. This practice has long been criticised for stirring up a toxic environment that rewards bad behaviour, encourages backstabbing, and forces managers to make decisions without taking into account personal merits.
Those who are ranked at the bottom will be given a performance improvement plan.
The company has, since the report was published on 21 June, denied the practice, with The Seattle Times quoting spokesperson Jaci Anderson, as saying: "We do not, nor have we ever, stack ranked our employees. This is not a practice that Amazon uses. She said the goal of the company’s performance review process is to “give employees more information and insights to continue to grow in their careers at Amazon.”
Further, while Amazon said some of the documentation reviewed by The Seattle Times was not created by the company’s central HR team, it did not reportedly dispute that the documents describe Amazon’s internal policies.
This reported practice has been widely discussed previously as well, with Business Insider having published a story in April 2021 about Amazon employees being graded on a curve, and one more recently featuring information found in The Seattle Times' viewing of the memo.
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