Uber is trying to revamp its allegedly “toxic” culture.
In response to a series of crises, Uber on Tuesday agreed to change everything from how it names its conference rooms (goodbye “War Room”) to the amount of control controversial CEO Travis Kalanick wields at the $69 billion company.
The changes were recommended by a report issued by former US Attorney General Eric Holder. They follow a four-month-long investigation by Holder and his private law firm into charges of harassment and unethical behavior at the company.
Here are the top nine things Uber has agreed to do to reform its corporate culture:
1. The search for a chief operating officer is on — and he or she will have real power at the company as Kalanick’s role diminishes.
Travis Kalanick decided to take time away from the company. But when he returns, he will have a diminished role; the report makes clear that the board will “review and reallocate” some of his responsibilities.
As part of that, the company is now seeking a chief operating officer who can be a full partner for Kalanick and can take over the day-to-day operations of the company.
Kalanick admitted in February he needed leadership help after Bloomberg published a video of him verbally fighting with a driver. The company soon after launched a search for a COO. However, before the report, the company hadn’t defined the role that executive would play.
The Holder report makes it clear: Kalanick will lose some of his power to gain a COO who can share in clearly defined responsibilities.
2. The company is re-writing its cultural values to get rid of aggressive phrases like ‘principled confrontation’
Part of Uber’s aggressive culture has been baked into the way Kalanick and Jeff Holden, the company’s chief product officer, defined its core principles. Among those 14 values were items like “Always Be Hustlin”, “toe-stepping”, and “principled confrontation” that encourage employees to work long hours and challenge each other’s work.
Now, though, “our values must be inclusive and focus on teamwork, collaboration and joy at work, and remove aggressive individual behaviors,” Uber’s HR chief Liane Hornsey wrote in an email to employees.
3. Diversity and inclusion are going to be executive-level priorities and every employee will be evaluated on their diversity efforts
Soon after former engineer Susan Fowler set off a bombshell with a widely read blog post that accused the company of ignoring her complaints about sexual harassment and fostering gender discrimination, Uber expanded its team that focuses on diversity and inclusion.
But the company will ramp up its efforts in response to the Holder report, making diversity an executive-level priority.
Uber’s renaming its Head of Diversity position to Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer — although its unclear whether its current head, Bernard Coleman, will take the new title. It also plans to establish an employee diversity board, regularly publish its diversity statistics, and overhaul its efforts to recruit women and underrepresented minority job candidates.
Additionally, Uber plans to start evaluating employees in part on their efforts to encourage diversity.
“There are lots of passionate people at Uber working hard to make our workplace diverse. They do it because they care, and it’s the right thing to do, not just because it’s part of their ‘day job,'” Hornsey wrote in an email to Uber’s employees. “We need to recognize and reward all these efforts as part of performance evaluation and as part of our cultural values.”