Is Amazon running the ultimate meritocracy, or an institutionalized version of The Hunger Games?

Whether or not you're a fan of Jeff Bezos, you should pay close attention to how the Amazon founder uses something called the Anytime Feedback Tool. The system allows employees to submit feedback about their co-workers to managers--positive or negative--without their colleagues knowing. 

The tool stokes competition between employees that could be seen as either healthy or cruel, The New York Times reports. Amazon spokesman Craig Berman tells the Times the system simply provides a different way for workers to share feedback, akin to striking up a conversation with your boss.

Some Amazon employees, however, say the tool leads to colleagues teaming up against individuals to "bury" them. Because Amazon ranks its employees and dismisses those at the bottom every year, many workers view the Anytime Feedback Tool as a weapon colleagues use against each other in hopes of advancing within the company.

So why should you consider using such a system at your business?

For starters, Amazon has a history of adopting controversial strategies that other businesses end up copying (Remaining unprofitable for years, against the advice of countless business experts, is generally inadvisable.). When it comes to providing more consistent feedback, Amazon isn't alone in its thinking. Human resources company Workday offers its own version of the tool called Collaborative Anytime Feedback. 

Numerous studies also show that traditional performance reviews can have a negative impact on employee-manager relationships. 

Last month, for example, the consulting firm Accenture announced it was eliminating annual performance reviews, which CEO Pierre Nanterme said are "too costly" and don't achieve the goal of driving better performance. Accenture is replacing annual reviews of its more than 300,000 employees with more frequent feedback, giving managers a more comprehensive picture of a worker's performance. 

So while you might not want to replicate Amazon's precise system of soliciting feedback from employees, it may be time to rethink the way you evaluate your employees.