THE NINE WINS TWO AXIOM AWARDS

PHIL SIMON

Award-winning author, dynamic keynote speaker, trusted advisor, & workplace tech expert 

THE WORLD’S FOREMOST INDEPENDENT WORKPLACE COLLABORATION AND TECH EXPERT

The Amazon Coffee Rebellion

It turns out that there's a ton of overlap between free joe and reinstating a booted CEO.
Dec | 11 | 2023

 

Dec | 11 | 2023
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Lauren Rosenblatt / The Seattle Times

Last month, rank-and-file employees at OpenAI vociferously lobbied for the return of their axed CEO.

Fast-forward five tumultuous days. Sam Altman was back (called it), and most of OpenAI’s board was out on its ass.

Meanwhile, in Seattle …

On an ostensibly different level, Amazon is forcing employees back to the office. A good chunk of them opted to quit rather than forgo their newfound flexibility.

WFH is hardly the only employee amenity under siege at The Everything Store. Management had offered employees unlimited free coffee but recently announced a one-cup-per-day maximum. Ten thousand miffed workers expressed their displeasure at the policy shift.

Would Amazon stick to its guns or cave?

If you read The Nine, you know the answer.

As Lauren Rosenblatt writes for The Seattle Times, “Less than a month before it was set to end, though, Amazon reversed course and extended the program.” (I’m no procurement expert, but $20 says that it will just order more of its own brand.) Trust me. Near-record profits mean that the company can afford to splurge a little these days.

Connecting the Dots

At first glance, a company reinstating its CEO over its board’s objections and employees getting few extra cups of free joe might seem unrelated—even polar opposites. Let’s zoom out, though. Both events are manifestations of the unprecedented employee empowerment I describe in the book.

Simon Says

Many things defined the 2023 workplace. The continued rise of empowered employees sits at the top of the list, and I suspect that it won’t wane in 2024. Much like the other forces in The Nine, expect it to intensify. Exhibits A & B: Much like actors and screenwriters, doctors are unionizing, and pharmacists aren’t far behind.

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