With multiple allegations of sexual harassment, accusations of stolen intellectual property, customers deleting their Uber apps, and frustrated investors in the financial future of the company, Uber is reeling rather than thriving as a business. It would be a shame to see them have to file bankruptcy just to stay alive like so many other companies have had to do in recent years.
If Uber does not employ serious crisis management efforts soon, they may be unable to get out of the pit they have dug for themselves. At the forefront of the company’s damaged reputation are allegations of sexism and sexual harassment against its women engineers.
Susan Fowler has hired a law firm to handle her claims of harassment against Uber and plans to see the matter through to the end. She was careful to record the blatant, inappropriate and overtly sexual advances she received via email. She also forwarded those sexual statements to the HR department who promised to take care of the matter but did nothing.
Other female engineers have also come forward claiming they too have experienced harassment from Uber. They have also witnessed a whole heap of problems within the Uber culture, such as employees working for more hours than they were paid, discrimination against women and the transgender community, fights for power, and of course the sexual harassment which is deeply disrespectful and embarrassing.
As if that were not enough, Uber has other issues to work out among its many other problems coming to light all at once. Waymo, the self-driving car company, is suing Uber for allegedly stealing intellectual property. One of Uber’s employees, Anthony Levandowski, was a former project leader for Google.
Levandowski is accused of downloading 14,000 files from Google before leaving to start up his own self-driving car company called Otto. Other employees who also left Google are accused of having downloaded trade secrets that they most likely intended to use for the start up of Otto. They all displayed good motivation and inspiration for making things happen, they just took the wrong steps trying to get there.
If Uber is to ever survive, it will need to change its company culture. According to an article in Forbes, a company’s culture is something that is “pre-existing in your company’s genetic code; it’s not something that employees bring with them.” A company’s value system, beliefs, habits, and behaviors are all a part of its culture. This is true in a company of one, or one million.
Uber has established that it is a company whose culture is in poor health. Will it survive? Perhaps it could, but drastic measures to change the culture’s behavior patterns would have to be taken. We will have to wait and see how far Uber is willing to drive in order to succeed.
Would you still use Uber despite all of its troubles? Let’s discuss here or on Twitter: @lcarterwriter.