Uber HR Chief's promise to staff: 'We will not fail you again'

Uber HR Chief's promise to staff: 'We will not fail you again'

Following pressure from investors, the embattled Chief Executive of Uber, Travis Kalanick resigned last week.

Kalanick, who helped to establish the company eight years ago and turn the firm into a global service, was in the firing line when it came to the firms' abusive, sexist and discriminatory culture. In a move deemed by stakeholders as better for the business, Kalanick stepped down as CEO but will remain a board member.

Since his resignation, however, more than 1,000 Uber employees have signed a petition calling for the Board to reinstate Travis Kalanick in an operational role.

Employees have said that uncertainty about leadership at Uber has made it difficult to work. Some are considering leaving, apprehensive about Uber’s ability to raise new funds. Others are worried about missing out on a big payday if they leave before their stock options fully vest, which takes four years, or before a reinvention of the company culture – The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports.

Pleading employees to keep calm and carry on, Uber’s Chief Technology Officer, Thuan Pham, and the company’s first CEO, Ryan Graves, now a senior Vice President and board member, urged employees to turn their focus back to work, according to emails reviewed by The WSJ.

“I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but whatever it is, we will be able to figure it out together as a team and as a company,” Pham wrote in a note to engineering staff. “Our company mission and impact is too important to let it falter.”

To dissipate any woes about the firms’ culture in light of Kalanick’s departure, Ann Bordetsky, an Uber Business Development Executive, wrote an email to “the women of Uber,” stating that they have the company’s full support, “we’re here with you.”

Furthermore, Uber’s Chief of Human Resources, Liane Hornsey, has reassured employees promising: “We will not fail you again.” She said that teams at Uber have been assigned an ‘owner’ of human resources policies, so workers can quickly escalate concerns.

According to Hornsey’s email changes included Uber setting out “citizenship” goals for the company, training in diversity and adopting a version of the “Rooney Rule,” which requires hiring managers to interview diverse candidates for all open positions.

Nora Hamada, a recruiter with Mirus Search, who says she has helped Uber employees find work, said: “People are leaving because they feel like it’s on fire,” said. “There’s a lot of peer pressure to quit Uber to work at a more ethical company,” Hamada said.

She adds that female employees in particular, feel pressured to leave.

In addition, according to data from analytics firm Apptopia, Uber has seen a sharp drop in retention rates for new drivers in the US. The analysis estimates that 30-day user retention for the Uber driver app in the US dropped 47% from January through May - TechCrunch reports.

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Comments (1)

  • Janet Jones-Parker
    Janet Jones-Parker
    Mon, 26 Jun 2017 4:01pm BST
    The Uber concept is proven. I am a first-hand user. However, Lyft is a reasonable alternative that (to date) does not have such explosive and unacceptable practices. They pay drivers better and have reduced prices to gain marketshare.

    The Board of Directors and investors have an opportunity to bring in a leader whose mindset is in alignment with best practices both internally and externally. They need to choose wisely because other companies have imploded due to similar poor management.

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