Uber continues to dominate the news, making headlines over top executive departures, hosting a conference call to assure reporters the board of directors still supports embattled CEO Travis Kalanick and fighting a high-profile lawsuit with self-driving car company Waymo.
None of this is good for employees. I know firsthand what it’s like to work at a company that is a lightning rod for bad news, in one of my previous jobs before joining Automotive News. Every day you wake up and search the Internet to see if anything scandalous was published overnight. Despite your boss urging you to ignore the bad news and focus on getting your job done, too much time is spent among staffers analyzing stories and commenting on what the media missed or misconstrued. Or your workday may be interrupted by another spate of bad news breaking in the middle of the day, which sidelines everyone.
Top-level executive departures create a vacuum: Projects that were humming along suddenly stall. Decisions can’t be made until someone new is in the role. And when a new person comes on, they come with a different vision and set of priorities, and people fear their projects will get dumped in the transition.
Being in the news day after day and week after week is a huge distraction for any company’s work force. Uber came out this week saying it supports Kalanick and that it is committed to cleaning up its workplace culture. What its workers really need is a few quiet weeks so they can get back to their jobs.
- Sharon Silke Carty