Issues w/Former Amazon Employees

Samsung vtPX83
Jul 9 39 Comments

Has anyone experienced issues managing former Amazon employees? I've hired a few ex-Amazon employees (non-devs) on my team at Samsung, and at my previous company (FAANG) and they haven't really worked out too well. They've all been talented (smart), but they're also extremely combative and generally don't work well with other team members. Thought it was something I was doing wrong in managing these folks, but following their careers afterwards I see them bouncing from company to company after spending only months on the job. Is there something in the Amazon culture these folks aren't finding elsewhere? Have other managers experienced similar issues?

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TOP 39 Comments
  • Twitch VLmy43
    You don’t grow inside Amazon. Amazon grows inside you !
    Jul 9 1
  • Amazon yup!
    Translation:

    Samsung managers aren't used to having their employees point out their mistakes, call bullshit on bad ideas, and go beyond their job description when necessary to get stuff done right.

    You want docile little slaves who respect your authority.
    Jul 9 4
    • Samsung vtPX83
      OP
      Would say this is true, but I hired them while I was at Apple too, and had same problem.
      Jul 9
    • Amazon yup!
      Did you have the same expectation they everyone respect your Supreme Authority?

      Because Amazon employees are taught not to and that's what seems to be the issue here. It's grilled into them that they should challenge false claims and raise issues.

      You can Google Amazon's view on why social cohesion is considered evil.
      Jul 9
    • Samsung vtPX83
      OP
      I'm all for challenging and raising issues, but there's a way to do it w/o pissing on everyone in the process.
      Jul 9
    • Samsung vtPX83
      OP
      Got what I needed from the group. Thanks again for your feedback.
      Jul 9
  • Amazon imavenger
    Amazon leadership principles - Have backbone , disagree and commit , Insist on High Standards .
    Jul 9 7
    • Amazon yup!
      I think you are interpreting stuff as combative when in reality the Amazonian is simply refusing to compromise for the sake of social cohesion.
      Jul 9
    • Samsung vtPX83
      OP
      No it's combative, mostly pointless too. I've also noticed a higher propensity to fingerpoint when something goes wrong from this group. It's pretty obvious from their careers afterwards that it's a persistent issue. These behaviors don't really do much for your career at Amazon it seems.
      Jul 9
    • Amazon yup!
      You're probably getting people who were fired from Amazon, then, because those are behaviors that get your fired from Amazon.
      Jul 9
    • Samsung vtPX83
      OP
      True. Hence my post to see if others have witnessed this too.
      Jul 9
    • Amazon imavenger
      Did you gave them enough feedback in their 1:1s , do you regularly hold 1:1 with them ?
      Jul 10
  • Amazon amazan
    Amazon has way too many employees, how do you differentiate yourself if you speak in terms of we? Bottom 6% are pipped so it's not uncommon to climb up by stepping on others.
    Jul 9 3
    • Samsung vtPX83
      OP
      Thank you for the context.
      Jul 9
    • Amazon yup!
      BS, the best way to avoid getting pipped is to be good at your job. Step on others and you get nailed on earns trust.
      Jul 9
    • New AeWs05
      So true! I’ve seen this at Amazon. Also, some team up to prevent another person from being promoted.

      Not sure where you are getting the earn trust part? And, some don’t get nailed with “earn trust” by stepping on others. In fact, I’ve seen it happen a lot.
      Nov 6
  • Samsung chajimogo
    From a coworker at Samsung who was at amazon for 2 years, he told me most teams were designed to compete against each other, and therefore foster a me first type of attitude and relentless pursuit to outdo/outwork the other teams. I was also told this was esp true at lab126.
    Jul 9 1
    • Airbnb hbfgjngfcv
      There is a reason relentless.com redirects to amazon.com 🙂
      Jul 9
  • Google topCon
    They are seeking 🍌🍌🍌
    Jul 9 0
  • Microsoft royddiydi
    Personally I also try to avoid coworker/boss who are ex amazon due to this nature. I guess you cannot survive amazon if you do not become evil.
    Jul 9 0
  • Amazon n0v
    Sounds like culture mismatch, and probably something to look into about your interviewing process.
    Jul 9 2
    • Cerner life?
      What do you do when you have culture mismatch. Want to hear both story fro being Amazon employee
      Jul 9
    • Amazon n0v
      Amazon spends a lot of effort screening for cultural fit during interviews, that's part of what leadership principals is about. But that said, fit, adaptability vary by person and are subjective to measure. I don't really know much about Samsung's culture, but it sounds like it's more cooperative and harmonious (wild ass guess). So maybe more time should be spent screening candidates to see if they are a match (or can adapt) to Samsung's culture. Once hired, and there's a mismatch, either you need to train/coach the hire or cut your losses and move on. On in rare cases, perhaps the team should adapt to the new hire if they are amazingly good.
      Jul 9
  • The fact that you even ask a question like this suggests that you need to reevaluate your management style.

    Do you really think that everyone who works at Amazon is "extremely combative", can't work in a team setting, and bounces from company to company? Is that how you think they became the 2nd largest company in terms of market cap?

    Do you really think that a company of 600k plus employees is that homogeneous, and that such a company permanently changes the character of every employee in an identical way?

    Did you really expect that someone would answer your question affirmatively? Like: "yes there is something in Amazon's culture which just irrevocably fucks up their employees. Not surprised you're having issues." If so, what were you planning to do with that information? Fire or marginalize your ex-Amazon employees? Throw away any resume you get with Amazon mentioned in the candidate's the work experience?

    You might consider avoiding making blanket assumptions about your coworkers, particularly your direct reports. As a JPMorgan employee, if I worked for you or was interviewing to be on your team, and you convinced yourself based on your extremely limited sample size of "a few" employees that people from JPMorgan suck, then I would be at a pretty insurmountable disadvantage with you from the start, which is unfair. How would you like it if you switched companies, and got re-orged into working for a boss with a bias against ex-Samsung employees?
    Jul 9 1
    • Samsung vtPX83
      OP
      Believe a few readers provided the affirmation already, but thanks!
      Jul 9
  • Twitch VLmy43
    May be they are still abiding by the amazon leadership principles. LOL
    Jul 9 0
  • Comcast dontdie
    The answer you are looking for is Amazon is evil and rots the soul of everyone who works there blah blah.

    But honestly even if it were true, not being able to create a culture of honesty/transparency/cooperation is YOUR failure as their manager.

    If you don’t like combativeness, you should have emphasized opposite virtues like humility and helpfulness. In your team meetings and 1:1s thank/reward people for behaving that way. Smart people learn the game quickly. Wtf do you even do as a manager? This is literally the biggest bullet on your JD
    Jul 9 0
  • Apple iHateFruit
    Same with ex-Apple employees
    Jul 9 0
  • Amazon yup!
    Sounds to me like you are getting people who got fired from Amazon. The behaviors you describe would get somebody a PIP here. That also explains a bit why they are stepping down from FANG to Samsung. The good people who quit Amazon step up to Facebook and Google or at least laterally to Microsoft, Apple, etc.

    At first I thought maybe it's you not being used to people speaking out and not compromising just for the sake of social cohesion. Might still be some of that. But we expect people to do that in a forthright and respectful way, no backstabbing or finger pointing. On the contrary you get fired for not pointing the finger at yourself first at Amazon. We even have a name for that: being vocally self critical.

    The more toxic behaviors you described are things that Amazon fires people for so maybe that's why they were looking for a job: we were managing them out. You gave classic examples of things we target, we'd call it failing to disagree and commit, failing to earn trust.

    Especially since you say these people are bouncing from company to company. You're getting our rejects.
    Jul 9 5
    • Samsung vtPX83
      OP
      Was at Apple before. Same experience.
      Jul 9
    • Amazon yup!
      So then you as a hiring manager aren't very good at hiring and you're getting the people we fired. Add some of our behavioral screening techniques to your interview loops.
      Jul 9
    • Samsung vtPX83
      OP
      Do you think there's a possibility you're slightly biased?
      Jul 9
    • Amazon yup!
      I think I know the behaviors we select for and who gets fired. You described people we fire pretty well.
      Jul 9
    • New AeWs05
      I think you are being a little bias there. People don’t typically get managed out because of poor performance. I am an Amazonian and can attest that I would say that the majority of people who get managed out are because their manager feels threaten. Amazon is a very combative culture. You are ask to deliver using leadership principles that sometimes clash against each other. I have seen a lot of backstabbing and finger pointing at Amazon. A whole lot! Even from L6 and L7 managers. So, Amazon does grown into you. I am an L6 manager and it gets worst when working with L7 managers. The problem is that some managers don’t want to be held accountable for their mistakes and blame their direct reports and then ask them to be “self critical.” So, they take that to other companies.

      It does not surprise me that other cultures clash against ex-amazon employees. Because, you either are use to pointing fingers, using leadership principles that clash, or are on a constant hunt for blood to show your worth.

      I also believe that people who work at Amazon do not always move to other FAANG companies. I don’t also think minimizing Samsung is the correct thing to do because it is one of the largest electronic companies in the world. Doing so, just shows what a typical combative Amazonian does-blood hunts.

      The OP is right, their are some Amazonians that go outside of Amazon and try to blend with the cultures and end up going back to Amazon because they can’t work in collaborative environments and are use to being so competitive. I know many who left and went back to Amazon. It is kind of sad and scary actually.
      Nov 6
  • MeridianLink XVrn30
    It's because they all reported to Bezos so they have no idea how far down the food chain they actually were.
    Jul 12 0
  • Microsoft und6b1hf
    I'm not surprised.
    Jul 9 0

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