Employees at Uber, which has survived at long last a back-breaking search for a new CEO after its former chief Travis Kalanick resigned earlier this year, are trying to raise other staffers’ spirits with a positive newsletter.
A photograph from the website of Uber employees’ new positivity campaign. Credit: Good People + Good Things
According to Recode, the employees involved have launched a site called Good People + Good Things, which is billing itself as a “simple reminder that we all have the power to bring a little more joy and positivity to the world.”
“This one is simple.” the site reads. “Make the world (and the office) a better place by encouraging positive attitudes and actions. Together, we can build a culture that’s all about optimism, equality, and empathy.”
Posters promoting the new site, which has a signup page limited to Uber employees, have appeared around the company’s campus. One sign which appeared on the site advertises a “True Value Menu” which virtues including equality, collaboration, high fives and sharing a break.
With new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Recode noted, many employees at the ride-hailing startup are hoping for a reboot of the company’s culture. Kalanick resigned under immense pressure from allegations he tolerated a widespread culture of sexual harassment at the company, as well as high-profile public relations nightmares including but not limited to alleged underpayment of drivers and a video showing him ranting at an Uber driver.
“This company has to change,” Khosrowshahi said during an all-hands meeting of Uber staff. “What got us here is not what’s going to get us to the next level.”
Emphasising a positive work culture is a clear shot at what it was like to work for Uber under Kalanick. The company’s 14 core values include “always be hustlin,'” which coincided with what the New York Times reported dozens of employees said was an Uber dominated by competition, “unrestrained” behaviour and infighting among managers.
A change of attitude, though, is not the only thing the company needs to resolve. Khosrowshahi has inherited a number of scandals from his predecessors including an alleged Department of Justice investigation into whether Uber bribed foreign officials.
In the long term, Uber’s business model can probably only succeed if it starts using autonomous vehicles — which will certainly stir controversy over job loss and has already strained relationships over alleged bad business practices with test cities like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.