June 20, 2024

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Truly Business

Amazon Managers Hire to Fire

5 min read


Welcome to this weekly roundup of stories from Insider’s Business co-Editor in Chief Matt Turner. Subscribe here to get this newsletter in your inbox every Sunday.

What we’re going over today:

Jeff Bezos

Alex Wong/Getty Images

What’s trending this morning:

Inside Amazon managers’ “hire to fire” practice 

Amazon has a goal to get rid of a certain percentage of employees every year — and three managers told Insider they felt so much pressure to meet the goal that they hired people just to fire them:

“We might hire people that we know we’re going to fire, just to protect the rest of the team,” one manager said. 

The practice is informally called “hire to fire,” in which managers hire people, internally or externally, they intend to fire within a year, just to help meet their annual turnover target, called unregretted attrition (URA). A manager’s URA target is the percentage of employees the company wouldn’t regret seeing leave, one way or the other.

The existence of the practice in at least some parts of the company shows how Amazon’s system of requiring managers to hit a target attrition goal every year can foster controversial norms and practices.

Get the full rundown:

Also read:

James Charles faces another threat to his beauty empire

James Charles Kelly Rocklein

Instagram/@jamescharles, Kelly Rocklein

James Charles’ former producer and creative director, Kelly Rocklein, is speaking out about her lawsuit against him, which alleges wrongful termination, disability discrimination, failure to provide reasonable accommodation, and failure to pay minimum wage for overtime hours worked:

In addition to working her more than 80 hours a week without overtime pay, according to Rocklein and her complaint, Rocklein said Charles seemed “incredibly unprofessional.”

“Imagine having to go over and essentially pick James up out of bed, tell him to brush his teeth, tell him, ‘OK, what do you want to eat? OK, someone is coming to do your laundry. OK, I’m going to get your laundry, I guess. OK, time to start filming — you don’t want to film — well, we both know you have to. So please let’s think about it,'” Rocklein said. 

She also said Charles walked around the house naked in front of her, called Rocklein names like “bitch,” and once texted her, “Kelly i might need your help shaving my butt” in preparation for a revealing Coachella outfit. Rocklein said Charles made her feel “extremely uncomfortable.”

Take a look at everything that led to the lawsuit:

Also read:

Shopify CEO’s email to managers outlines company’s core beliefs

Tobias Lütke shopify

Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

In the wake of intense internal debate about issues of race, Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke sent an email to managers outlining the company’s core beliefs. In it, he made clear what the company is not — it is not a government, he said, and it “cannot solve every societal problem”:

In the email, he said that “endless Slack trolling, victimhood thinking, us-vs-them divisiveness, and zero sum thinking” amounted to a “threat” that breaks teams. He encouraged managers to stay focused on Shopify’s mission of empowering online commerce and entrepreneurship. 

A Shopify spokesperson told Insider that the company was not trying to emulate Basecamp in its handling of political issues and that it welcomed discussion of current events.

“As Shopify is growing quickly with new team members joining every day, our executive team will often send company-wide messages to remind the organization of our vision for equitable entrepreneurship and to reignite our spirit of positive collaboration,” the spokesperson said. “This reinforces our need to work together in creating a future that unites, not divides.” 

Read the full email here:

Also read:

Top mortgage bankers are leaving Wells Fargo 

Top mortgage lenders are leaving Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo; Samantha Lee

More than 20 top

mortgage lenders
at Wells Fargo have left in the past year, while four of the bank’s elite President’s Club members have left since December. Five current and former mortgage bankers described a culture of heavy oversight and clunky technology that limited their ability to do business:

Tom Goyda, a Wells Fargo spokesperson, said the exits are due to the competitiveness of the market for mortgage talent. 

“We’ve been in a very competitive mortgage market, and top-producing loan offers are in high demand across the industry,” Goyda said. “Wells Fargo has hired top producers from other lenders, and some of our home mortgage consultants have moved to other firms.”

But the mortgage bankers who spoke with Insider pointed to excessive red tape, clunky legacy technology, and the Federal Reserve-imposed asset cap as factors that stymied loan growth and led them to quit. 

More on the mortgage bankers’ departures:

Also read:

Jeremy Grantham says current market is “eerily like 2000”

Legendary investor and co-founder of Grantham, Mayo & van Otterloo, Jeremy Grantham

Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images

Jeremy Grantham made prescient calls about the 2000 and 2008 bubble bursts, and said the current market was eerily reminiscent of the dot-com bubble. He describes four indicators that have lined up for what could be “the biggest loss of perceived value from assets that we have ever seen”:

When Jeremy Grantham declared in January that “the long, long bull market since 2009 has finally matured into a fully fledged epic bubble,” he said he knew there would be “a substantial increase in crazy behavior” before it all came crashing down. 

The cofounder of Boston’s Grantham, Mayo, van Otterloo & Co. is famous for having made prescient calls about the bursting of the 1989 Japanese asset-price bubble, the 2000 tech bubble, and the 2008 real-estate bubble.

“The thing about a bubble is if you can find more money and more crazy investors, it can keep going,” he said. 

Here’s Grantham’s full market outlook:

Also read:

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Lastly, here are some headlines you might have missed last week.

— Matt

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