- A woman watched her husband go through Amazon’s Pivot performance improvement process.
- He told Business Insider that watching his wife cry from the ordeal was heartbreaking.
- An Amazon spokeswoman said the experience of a single employee was not representative.
This essay is based on a conversation with his wife Amazon corporate employee Included in the company’s performance-management program known as Pivot. This person spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid damaging her husband’s career. Business Insider verified the employee’s identity and employment with the company. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
When the performance management process started, it was a big surprise for me because before that my husband won an award from Amazon. He was very, very committed to his work.
When he was at Pivot, he was told he had to complete certain tasks or he would be at the most serious stage of the process. Then his boss told him, “You’re in a different process now. You have to multitask or you’ll be let go.”
When we were told about this series of steps, he had the choice to go further or quit and get paid. But he is very selfless. He gives a lot to his work. So he said, “No, I can try to do that.”
During his tenure, he had many side jobs. For about two months, he worked at his regular job and then at this side job. Sometimes it was 16 hours, 18 hours a day. Our life stopped because he had a lot to do.
He was very confident. And we will continue to talk about it. His goal was to finish at least a week before the deadline so he could check to see if any additional information was needed and make sure everything was in order. He finished a week early. He was very confident in what he did. He talked about his work with many of his peers. So he checked what he had to do and felt it was good. We even went on a weekend trip ahead of time. “Since everything is fine, we can go to the ocean and enjoy it,” we said.
When he presented what he did, it didn’t go through. I was worried about him; We have been together for almost 20 years and I hardly ever saw him cry. It was boring to watch.
If you fail because you don’t get the job done, you accept it. He had peers who didn’t do the task, but he did. The process was not fair. On the day of his evaluation, his boss asked him: “What message do you want me to give to your peers about leaving the company?” This was not the time to say that. The manager could have said he had an opportunity to appeal, but he didn’t. My husband had to figure it out himself. His boss didn’t say, let’s see where you failed, what you can do.
In my opinion, this process is not designed to improve the employee.
My husband was one of the best at his job. He showed me the good comments he received about his work from clients and peers. All his colleagues were surprised that he went through this process. So the lesson for them is that if he can get through it, so can you all.
It was as if someone had died.
They give you five days to decide whether to appeal. It was a really emotional moment for us. He did not trust his abilities. He told me, “I need to apply. I need to know that I’ve tried everything because I know I’m doing a good job.”
As if someone died in the house. It was very difficult for him to regain his confidence because he had never been fired. If something like this happened to me because I complain a lot at work, I would accept it, but not him.
He has always been the best employee in other places he has worked. So it was very difficult for him and for me to accept that he was going through this. He was ranked as one of the worst employees even after receiving accolades and compliments from customers and colleagues.
After the appeal, it was someone from human resources who gave him the final decision. He said, “I’m sorry. I saw your paper and how much you tried, blah, blah, blah.”
I work too. It was very difficult for me to concentrate – not only to think about the future, but also about his feelings. My wife even lost a lot of weight during this time.
His income is much more than mine. So we tried to think what to do. We have a child. I did a lot of calculations on how many months we could go without my husband’s job. Fortunately, he is currently interviewing for other roles.
My wife is a role model for our child.
I’m sure it was the right decision to continue this process until the end, even though we discovered it wasn’t really designed to improve anyone’s performance.
If he had decided to leave earlier, he could say, “I could still be there.” Now we see that the decision is not based on what you do.
My husband was a role model for our child in part because of Amazon. So “my dad has a great job; my mom has a regular job.”
When our child saw my husband’s condition – his mood, his face, how sad he was, we had to explain. My husband said he has a lot of work to do. So, there were weekends when he could not spend time with us.
We were planning a trip for this year. We told our child that this trip was no longer on the table. It caused a lot of crying – not because of the journey, but because it was so hard for a child to see his hero like that.
My husband has a lot of shirts with Amazon on them. Our child saw him dressed recently and asked why are you dressed like that?
Amazon spokeswoman Margaret Callahan told BI via email:
“Like most companies, we have a performance management process that helps our managers identify who is performing well on their team and who may need more support. For the small number of underperforming employees, we use performance management programs to help them improve. and a many employees do. Sometimes the programs result in employees leaving the company. Business Insider declined to share the information needed to verify this person’s account, but based on the questions we’ve been asked, it’s likely the essay will contain inaccuracies related to performance management. Process. To use one person’s unverified, anonymous anecdote to suggest that their experience represents the experience of a workforce of 1.5 million is simply wrong.”
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