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Boston for Amazon HQ2: But is Amazon a best-place-to-work?

Boston is on Amazon’s shortlist of 20 favored finalist cities for where they’ll ultimately build their new corporate headquarters, HQ2. This new project will supplement the company’s existing Seattle headquarters on the west coast and be the beginning of a whole new chapter of massive growth for the e-commerce giant.

And while Amazon has yet to reveal any further decision beyond who’s on that shortlist, which they announced back in January 2018, needless to say there are a LOT of people – especially here in Boston! – who are dying to know what the outcome will be.

What’s in it for the winning city?

For starters, the project promises up to 50,000 new jobs and more than $5 billion in investment, which city officials are certainly excited about. And on top of that, the project will also of course bring tons of positivity and “cool” points for the chosen city, which will inevitably lead to more young professionals interested in visiting and moving to the area, more businesses opening, and more energy and excitement overall for everyone.

But before we all go too crazy rooting for Amazon to come to Boston, are we sure that Amazon is even a good place to work? According to a recent study of Amazon’s company culture over the last few years, the answer is leaning toward a yes.

Recent growth of Amazon’s company culture

In the past, regarding Amazon’s company culture, it has often been reported that its employees struggled to keep up with the intense pace at the retail giant. But according to new analysis we did here at kununu, a workplace insights platform, employee satisfaction at Amazon is on clearly on the rise.

Let’s see what it’s really like to work at Amazon:

“Amazon has long had a reputation of being a difficult place to work with a “bruising” and “relentless” company culture. But if you take a close look at more recent employee feedback left on our platform at kununu.com, it seems that Amazon has changed. According to the company’s reviews on our platform, Amazon has taken responsibility and fixed a number of internal problems,” says Johannes Prüller, Director Global Communications at kununu.

 

While the average US company rating on kununu from current and former employees across all companies was a 3.54 out of possible 5 within the last 12 months, Amazon received a company rating of 3.59. And if you only take into account the current quarter, the employee score went up to 3.87 compared to 3.04 in the same period the year before – a rise of 27.3 percent.

 

What makes up Amazon’s employee satisfaction rating?

There are 18 workplace dimensions that kununu measures to help understand employee satisfaction at specific companies, which include everything from support from management, to work-life balance, to gender equality and more. The scores for all of these 18 individual dimensions together make up a company’s average rating.

Below is a chart that lists all of the workplace dimensions and how Amazon shapes up in each one; Amazon scores at or above the U.S. average in 13 of them – Gender Equality, Diversity, Image, Social Awareness, Career Development, Compensation, and Company Culture.

 

RankDimensionAmazonUS Average
1Gender Equality3.993.90
2Diversity3.963,71
3Safety3.893.88
4Image3.763.63
5Accessibility3.683.85
6Social Awareness3.683.49
7Attitude towards older colleagues3.673.77
8Autonomy3.663.62
9Teamwork3.643.56
10Company Culture3.643.54
11Challenging Work3.563.60
12Working Conditions3.493.56
13Career Development3.463.26
14Compensation and Benefits3.443.31
15Job Security3.423.48
16Work-Life-Balance3.413.41
17Leadership Support3.353.27
18Communication3.343.22

Source: https://www.kununu.us; April 1st 2017 – May 15th 2018; 5-point-scale: 1 (dissatisfied) – 5 (very satisfied).

Most Amazon employees would recommend their company

Of the 1,045 employees who have submitted Amazon reviews on kununu.com within the last two years, 58% said they would recommend the company to a friend. Within the last 12 months this number went up to 66% and within the last 6 months the rate climbed up to 72%.

One current Amazon employee shared the following statement earlier this year, “I am happy and encourage others to join.” This comes after a series of reports on the “bruising” workplace culture at Amazon that surfaced the company’s tactics to optimize its output — at the expense of employee well-being. But in fact, many employees on kununu have also reported on the thrill of being in such a high-demanding workplace and that they liked to be pushed to excel.

“Amazon has the goal to be the Earth’s most customer-centric company. What some describe as a fast-paced environment, is the very way CEO Jeff Bezos and other company leaders focus on defining clear goals and helping their managers meet them. The thing that stands out at Amazon is that their obsession with customer satisfaction can be seen across all company levels”, says Johannes Prüller of kununu.

 

One employee shared: “It is a customer-centric culture; therefore, be prepared to meet all deadlines regardless of other factors.” Another one confirmed: “Customers are our number one goal.”

So is Amazon a best-place-to-work company? 

No one can really know the true answer to that except Amazon employees themselves. And as it seems, even their answers might vary depending on who you ask; Amazon currently employees over 500,000 people worldwide.

BUT, if the data above is any indication, the overall consensus on Amazon’s company culture is that – while it’s a challenging work culture – its employees are actually pretty happy with many different aspects of the company and would likely say that “yes” Amazon is a best-place to work.

That does makes a lot of sense, because how else could the company sustain this crazy growth over recent years if their employees’ satisfaction wasn’t on a positive upswing?

Above anything though, what us Bostonians need to remember is that Amazon is coming here, regardless of the HQ2 outcome. Amazon has already invested $400 million in Massachusetts and will add 2,000 jobs to Boston, largely in the booming Seaport Boston area. And if we are the lucky (or unlucky?) ones to get the HQ2 bid, the job market in Boston is going to be in for a major shakeup.

 

To learn more about the company culture at other Boston companies,  visit kununu.com search through thousands of companies. From there, you can discover if the companies you’re interested in are actually the right fit for you.