Amazon to Block Employee Promotions If They Don’t Return to the Office

If you want to progress at Amazon, you’ll have to go into the office three days a week.

Despite the mounting evidence of multiple benefits, from higher revenue growth to more productive employees, resistance to flexible and remote working persists. This time, from tech giant Amazon.

Based on internal communications sent this week, Amazon issued instructions to managers that stated employees who are in line for promotions must be compliant with the company’s return-to-office mandate.

The official Amazon policy, introduced in February this year, requires employees to come into the office at least three days a week.

Supporting Employee Growth

Based on the communications, non-compliance of Amazon’s return-to-office policy could potentially put promotions on hold, requiring the decision to go above a manager’s level for approval from a vice president instead.

According to the company’s spokesperson, non-adherence to the policy isn’t the only reason a promotion may be rejected, but it does contribute to the decision. 

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“Promotions are one of the many ways we support employees’ growth and development. Like any company, we expect employees who are being considered for promotion to be in compliance with company guidelines and policies.” 

A Contentious Policy

The introduction of this seemingly contentious policy is interestingly not the first of its kind. 

Prior to this, Amazon gave managers the green light to terminate employees who did not adhere to its return-to-office policy. This also led to the company’s CEO Andy Jassy to express frustration over people not coming in for the required three days. During an internal meeting he stated:

“It’s past the time to disagree and commit. If you can’t disagree and commit, it’s probably not going to work out for you at Amazon because we are going back to the office at least three days a week.” – Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon

All of this comes following a previous policy — which has since been revoked — that put the power of remote working and flexibility in the hands of individual teams and colleagues. 

Amazon employees have also been vocal in their disagreement with the return-to-office mandate. 

Amazon’s Year of Restructuring

While this latest policy relates to promotions specifically and allegedly won’t result in terminations, it does seem to go hand in hand with the recent restructuring efforts and layoffs at Amazon. 

As well as the recent cuts from its gaming division, the tech giant has laid off 10,000 corporate and technology staff members from its devices, retail, and human resources division too. To date, the company has let go of a total of 27,000 employees in the past year alone. 

This comes despite its Q3 net income far surpassing analyst estimates, with revenue increasing by 13% to $143.1 billion. 

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Written by:
Ellis Di Cataldo (MA) has over 9 years experience writing about, and for, some of the world’s biggest tech companies. She's been the lead writer across digital campaigns, always-on content and worldwide product launches, for global brands including Sony, Electrolux, Byrd, The Open University and Barclaycard. Her particular areas of interest are business trends, startup stories and product news.
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