|Sun Dec 23 2012 09:13:48|
eBay and Amazon Cultural Divide: Company Meetings
By: Ina Steiner
In a Forbes article about eBay's courtship of college grads, who are classified as Gen Y or Millennials, I was struck by something eBay's top HR exec said about their behavior: it may be okay if they're fiddling with their phones during company meetings.
Beth Axelrod said the company is significantly ramping up recent college graduate recruitment because, "our view is that for this era, at the stage of evolution we're in now, having digital natives who have grown up with technology, see the world through that lens, and are the future customers of our business - that's important to the future growth of our company."
Regarding the phone-fiddling, she explained:
"If they're using their phone in a meeting, they may well be blogging or writing a post that's adding to their external reputation, and in turn, accruing to the company's reputation. Should we disparage that behavior, or encourage that behavior? We need to be open to the possibility it's bringing a kind of benefit to the company that we want and should encourage."
It's certainly an interesting idea. (I'd love to read those blog posts!)
I had just read a Fortune article last month about Amazon meetings that was completely counter to that philosophy.
"Meetings of his "S-team" of senior executives begin with participants quietly absorbing the written word. Specifically, before any discussion begins, members of the team -- including Bezos -- consume six-page printed memos in total silence for as long as 30 minutes."
It's not quite apples and apples, since the article about Amazon is talking about meetings of senior executives, not low-level new-hires. But it demonstrates the cultural differences between the two companies.
Both articles make an interesting read while you're catching your breath from a busy holiday selling season. Customers of the two ecommerce marketplaces (and by that, I mean sellers) have a unique perspective: if you were graduating from college today, which company would you want to work for? Imagine you were advising your niece or nephew - what would you tell them?