scorecardAmazon's pledge to become 'Earth's Best Employer' is failing.
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Amazon's pledge to become 'Earth's Best Employer' is failing.

Diamond Naga Siu   

Amazon's pledge to become 'Earth's Best Employer' is failing.
Tech4 min read

It's Throw it Back Thursday, reader. I'm Diamond Naga Siu, and I'm just trying to make it to the weekend.

I get a lot of satisfaction out of what I do, but I'd love to work for the world's best employer. What does that even mean, though? What would the best employer in the world look like? What would make them so great?

While we ponder these imponderables, I can tell you that it's probably not Amazon — despite its flashy 2021 pledge to become "Earth's Best Employer." My colleague Eugene Kim reports that company insiders have taken issue with just how far Amazon is from that goal.

We've got that and more below for today's tech news.

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1. Amazon is fumbling its "Earth's Best Employer" pledge. This is one of the company's most ambitious projects, aimed at turning around its notoriously toxic workplace culture. Yet nearly two years later, employees — including top executives — lack clarity about the undertaking.

  • Employees have repeatedly asked Amazon execs to provide clarity on the pledge. But their responses were often evasive and inconsistent. CEO Andy Jassy even once admitted that the definition of Earth's Best Employer is "subjective."
  • Many employees said a lack of transparency at the company is especially counterproductive to the goal. They pointed to how layoffs in January were conducted. Many found out via email with no prior warning or one-on-one chat. And the restructuring plan wasn't revealed until the media had already covered it.
  • My colleague Eugene Kim talked with more than 20 current and former Amazon employees about the lofty pledge. Spoiler alert: he found that there's a lot of work to do.

This is what they said about Earth's not-Best Employer.

In other news:

2. Watch Jeff Bezos' $500 million megayacht set sail. The 417-foot vessel hit open water for the first time. It's the same boat that caused uproar for nearly having to dismantle a historic bridge for it to pass. Check out the Bezos boat in action here.

3. Google's leaked guidelines on how to train its ChatGPT competitor. Googlers were told to not let the chatbot talk like it is a human. Read the full guidelines here. (Bonus: Read CEO Sundar Pichai's leaked company-wide email. He asked all Googlers to spend two to four hours testing the chatbot.)

4. "I tried Amazon's prescription service for generic meds." RxPass covers 80+ health conditions for a flat, $5 monthly fee. My colleague Yeji Jesse Lee tried the service but probably won't use it again due to how difficult the setup was. More on her experience here.

5. No Role Modelz: Elon Musk thinks CEOs and politicians should be more like him. The billionaire said that other public figures should also run their own social media accounts. He said the current method of corporate press releases and ghostwritten Twitter posts sounds like "propaganda." More on his model behavior here.

6. Tesla workers say the company tracks their keystrokes. Employees in New York say their keystrokes are monitored to ensure they're actively working, per Bloomberg. They emailed Elon Musk on Tuesday to inform him they were campaigning for a union. Find out more.

7. An ex-Amazon manager says they quit over unfair performance ratings. Their boss encouraged them to quit after they defended a high-performing employee from getting the lowest performance rating. They told Insider how company politics ended their time at Amazon.

8. Safety first: Mark Zuckerberg loves security. The Meta CEO's personal security allowance just got a $4 million increase — up from $10 million last year. Last year, the company shelled out $25 million for his personal security. More on the safety issue here.

Odds and ends:

9. Kia and Hyundai are tired of people stealing their cars. A viral TikTok challenge taught people how to steal certain Kia and Hyundai models. The Korean carmakers finally rolled out a free anti-theft software update for the targeted models. Check out their solution here.

10. Then leave: These Walmart stores are shutting down. The retailer annually shuts down a few stores for underperformance. Insider compiled the ones it's shuttering across five states, including Illinois, Florida, and Wisconsin. Get the full list here.

What we're watching today:

Curated by Diamond Naga Siu in San Diego. (Feedback or tips? Email or tweet @diamondnagasiu) Edited by Matt Weinberger (tweet @gamoid) in San Francisco and Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) + Nathan Rennolds (tweet @ncrennolds) in London.