Business woman during a PIP

Tell-Tale Signs a Pivot Is on the Way

One of the most common things I hear from Amazon employees is that they are shocked to receive a Pivot because their performance evaluations have all been positive and they have not been subject to coaching or performance improvement measures. Without fail, however, Amazon contends that the employee has been subject to coaching and the manager’s file includes a history of coaching relating to performance issues because, unbeknownst to the employee, casual and minor conversations with their manager were being documented as coaching related to performance. Unfortunately, by the time the employee realizes what is going on, they have already been added to a list at Amazon that prohibits them from transferring to a new position and leaves a negative mark for the remainder of their career at Amazon, which is nearly impossible to change. This leaves the employee with only two options (which is intentional on Amazon’s part):  accept the severance pay offered in the Pivot letter or choose to “improve at Amazon,” which requires successful completion of a Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”)(most employees do not successfully complete the PIP because managers include at least one subjective measurement. To learn more about Amazon’s Pivot, PIP, and Appeal processes, please visit this page.  

Most employees wish that they had been warned that a Pivot was coming and/or had seen the warning signs so they could transfer before being blacklisted or find another job before faced with unemployment. I have developed a list of common warning signs so employees may compare their situation to the list and take steps to protect themselves, if necessary. 

  • Your manager begins nitpicking your work and/or behavior.
  • Your manager overloads you with work and/or gives you impossible deadlines.
  • Your one-on-one meetings with your manager become more formal and/or your manager sends you emails summarizing your one-on-ones that are lengthy and overstate what was discussed.  
  • You are left off of team communications and meetings.
  • Your routine work is reassigned to a coworker.  
  • Your job duties, role, and/or manager recently changed.
  • Your manager is having job performance issues. 
  • You lodged a complaint with HR or were a witness in an HR investigation.
  • You took a political stance at work.
  • You requested and/or took medical leave for yourself or a family member.
  • You requested an accommodation for a disability.
  • You work remotely but your manager has indicated he/she would like you to move to where your team is located, and you rejected.
  • You have a significant number of RSUs that will vest in the next six months.
  • You are over 40.

In most cases, several of the above factors are present. You should not assume that you will be placed on a Pivot if only a few of the above factors apply to your situation. However, if you suspect that you will be placed on Pivot, your hunch is probably correct, and we encourage you to contact us so we can advise you regarding your options and legal rights.