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What Can We Learn from Uber?

Your company doesn’t need to be notorious for toxic culture to learn from Uber’s recent roller coaster. A three month investigation into “the specific issues relating to the workplace environment raised by Susan Fowler, as well as diversity and inclusion at Uber more broadly” resulted in a report containing dozens of recommendations that any tech company can benefit from.

There are lessons here for all of us, if we’re paying attention.

The opinions shared here are not specific to any current or former employer, but come from years of experience within the tech industry and conversations with peers from many different backgrounds.

This post also includes a lot of insights and input from Megan Hall, an experienced Human Resource leader, and the current Head of People and Culture at Smile.io. It’s structured as a combination of text quoted from the report, followed by our thoughts on applying them to other organizations. We’ve kept the numbering & lettering on each recommendation intact so that you can go look up the full text in the report, if you’re interested.

I. Changes to Senior Leadership

A. Review and Reallocate the Responsibilities of Travis Kalanick.

Now that Travis Kalanick has resigned, I was about to strike this out as irrelevant. However, Megan pointed out that there’s a wider lesson here. Organizations should avoid relying on a single member of the executive team to be the face of the culture of a company.

B. Use the Chief Operating Officer Search to Identify Candidates Who Can Help Address These Recommendations.

The Board should […] bring in a Chief Operating Officer who will act as a full partner with the CEO, but focus on day-to-day operations, culture, and institutions within Uber.

The report recommends sourcing COO candidates “who are themselves diverse.” While this phrase, out of context, makes my eye twitch (how can a single person be “diverse?”), I agree with the sentiment. It’s critical to have members of minority groups represented in the executive team of a company. There are many benefits, not the least of which is providing a leader that members of minority groups feel they can approach, who might have a hope of understanding a bit of their own perspective and experiences.

The report also recommends finding “candidates with experience in improving institutional culture.” They seem to have missed a key element here in specifying experience in improving a DIVERSE culture. Maybe that’s implied, but if diversity of thought really matters for a company, it deserves to be stated with every mention of culture.

C. Use Performance Reviews to Hold Senior Leaders Accountable.

Uber should establish key metrics to which its leaders will be held accountable in the performance review process. This would include, for example, metrics that are tied to improving diversity, responsiveness to employee complaints, employee satisfaction, and compliance.

No brainer. Every company should be doing this from the start. Particularly on those last 3. That being said, metrics on improving diversity & culture are hard. It’s really easy to measure diversity of applicants in terms of race, gender, etc. I’ll quote Megan directly here, because I loved her phrasing, “measuring diversity of thought & inclusion is REALLY FREAKING HARD.” Feedback from all levels of the company on how leaders are doing on this should be included in any of these types of metrics. It should not just be the CEO assessing her leaders herself.

D. Increase the Profile of Uber’s Head of Diversity and the Efforts of His Organization.

Reading through this report, I learned that there’s a guy named Bernard Coleman who is Uber’s “Head of Diversity.” Mr Coleman was previously the Chief Diversity & Human Resources Officer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and he took the job at Uber just a few weeks before Susan Fowler’s blog post was published, kicking off the string of news that led to this report. Time just published an interview with him that you may be interested in checking out.

The recommendations related to this role include a few key points that are worth calling out.

…serve as a resource for senior management and rank-and-file employees alike with respect to diversity and inclusion.

With a senior leader that is specifically tasked with diversity and inclusion, employees know that they have somewhere to reach out. I’m sure many of us have observed or experienced something and not known quite who to bring it to. For me, it often falls to whoever I know best who’s slightly above me in the organization, but sometimes it’s an HR person, who probably has a million other things going on. It doesn’t have to be negative and reactive, either. If I had an idea to improve recruitment, retention, or professional development, specifically with diversity & inclusion in mind, handing those ideas off to individual leaders within small departments may not be the most effective way to make change. Those people have a million other things going on, and proactively changing the way they do things isn’t going to make it to the top of the list. It should be a priority for the Head of Diversity.

…the position should be renamed the “Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer,” and the position should report directly to the CEO or the COO. This action is intended to reflect the elevated status of this role and demonstrate the company’s commitment to this issue.

Titles & reporting structure are important. I’ve heard people say that “Oh, I don’t care about the title, I just want to do what it takes to make the company successful,” but there are so many roles, like this one, where the person in the role won’t be successful if they aren’t given the authority and visibility that they need in order to carry out their work. If diversity & inclusion is important to the organization, it needs to be represented at the C-level.

Speaking of diversity & inclusion:

It is equally important that the role address both diversity and inclusion. Diversity is generally viewed as focusing on the presence of diverse employees based on religion, race, age, sexual orientation, gender, and culture. Inclusion, on the other hand, focuses not just on the presence of diverse employees, but on the inclusion and engagement of such employees in all aspects of an organization’s operations.

We both loved the focus on inclusion here over diversity. The definitions the report provided pinpoint exactly why the distinction is important.

II. Enhance Board Oversight

D. Use Compensation to Hold Senior Leaders Accountable.

The Board should consider incorporating ethical business practices, diversity and inclusion, and other values from Uber’s Business Code of Conduct into its executive compensation program.

Is executive compensation the best answer here? Every parent and pet owner* knows that consequences need to be immediate and directly tied to the behaviour you want to discourage. Compensation is a “reward” and will generally lag so far behind the actual behaviour that it can’t really be used to hold anyone accountable. Accountability means direct job consequences. Hire those that are ethical by nature, and fire those that are not. Make it crystal clear.

*Not that senior leaders should be compared to children or dogs, but power does apparently cause brain damage.

E. Nominate a Senior Executive Team Member to Oversee Implementation of any Recommendations.

This executive should be chosen carefully, and care should be taken to appoint someone who is viewed positively by the employees.

While I don’t know how I’d construct a representative sample, it seems like this executive should be vetted (or even chosen entirely) by a sampling of normally under-represented employees. One of the great things about referrals is that the employee doing the referring clearly trusts the person and considers them to be an excellent culture-add. I’ve heard too many stories where members of minority groups have identified plausible candidates for open leadership positions, and are given no clear explanation when the decision goes in a different direction. Leaving your employees to guess at your reasoning for hiring (or not hiring) is a great way for them to feel untrusted and undervalued.

III. Internal Controls

B. Implement Enhancements to Uber’s Internal Controls.

ensure that items that are inconsistent with Uber policies and procedures are not reimbursable and not reimbursed

Sounds fair.

require that Uber personnel at every level of the organization submit receipts as a condition to receiving reimbursement

Well duh…

C. Human Resources Record-Keeping.

if a complaint is substantiated but results in discipline other than termination of employment, relevant stakeholders should be able to easily identify whether prior complaints have been lodged to ensure that appropriate action is taken with respect to repeat offenders. Likewise, senior managers should be able to track whether certain organizations or managers give rise to multiple complaints such that intervention with the manager is needed.

And again…duh.

D. Track Agreements with Employees.

All settlement and separation agreements with employees should be logged and tracked to ensure proper record-keeping, compliance with the agreements, and consistency in terms.

Seriously. Duh.

IV. Reformulate Uber’s 14 Cultural Values.

Uber should […] eliminate those values which have been identified as redundant or as having been used to justify poor behavior, including Let Builders Build, Always Be Hustlin’, Meritocracy and Toe-Stepping, and Principled Confrontation.

I don’t know what any of the so-called values outlined here are supposed to mean. I do know that they don’t sound like they define a company where I’d like to work. If it’s worth writing down in your employee handbook, it’s worth making it clearly actionable, with concrete examples of good & bad behaviour. Eliminate the cultural jargon so that a new hire knows exactly what’s expected of them. A company I worked for had “Winning” as one of the core values. How am I supposed to “live” that value?

V. Training

A. Mandatory Leadership Training For Key Senior Management/Senior Executive Team Members.

It is critical that senior leaders at Uber receive leadership coaching.

It looks like it’s expired, but local company recently had a job posting open for a “people development program leader and coach”. This company is willing to admit publicly that they need help coaching their leaders. That’s really intriguing, from the outside. They take the identification and development of potential leaders seriously enough that they want someone to make this their full time job! How cool is that?

B. Mandatory Human Resources Training.

Uber should train Human Resources personnel on the effective handling of complaints […] and develop policies and processes relating to record-keeping. Training should include how to identify when employee complaints or disciplinary decisions should be escalated to the Legal organization for review.

This is another “duh”.

C. Mandatory Manager Training.

Training should focus on diversity, inclusion, and unconscious bias (in line with training offered to senior leaders), but should also cover important fundamental skills necessary for effective management, including how to communicate with and value all employees, maintain a proper managerial relationship, provide constructive feedback to employees, help employees set personal career goals, appropriately evaluate employee performance according to the company’s values, consistently apply the company’s transfer and promotion policies, and handle performance-related issues and complaints of unfair treatment.

I don’t know if other industries are like this, but in my experience, the software industry is TERRIBLE at supporting people as they transition from ‘individual contributor’ to manager. People get promoted and then left to flounder as they try to figure out this whole ‘people’ thing. Or worse, they get promoted, but they’re so critical to the organization from a technical perspective, that they end up spending all of their time fighting technical fires, and their staff end up having NO CLUE how to progress in their career. I recently had someone tell me that they didn’t know what they should be doing to progress beyond a ‘junior’ role. This person wasn’t even looking for acceleration on that trajectory, just some sort of concrete steps to take.

D. Interview Training.

Uber should require employees who routinely interview candidates, including all “Bar Raisers,” to undergo training on interviewing skills, conducting inclusive interviews, and unconscious bias.

I had to look up what a ‘Bar Raiser’ was. Uber apparently has a program where someone who didn’t interview a candidate later mediates a discussion among the interviewers. This so-called ‘Bar Raiser’ is coming in blind, hasn’t met the candidate, and doesn’t know their ethnicity or gender, and won’t work with the candidate, so has no vested interest in the outcome. From Wired: “The Bar Raiser mediator […] leads the group in probing questions — have you talked to the candidate about this type of work, did you ask a follow-up question, why do you feel this way, consider another viewpoint.” This type of blind recruitment review seems like a great idea, assuming the bar-raisers and interviewers alike have already been trained on the fundamentals of fair and inclusive interviewing.

VI. Improvements to Human Resources and the Complaint Process

A. An “Owner” of Resources-Related Policies Should be Identified or Hired.

An “owner” of Human Resources-related policies should be identified or hired — an individual responsible for drafting new policies and updating existing policies, through whom all updates to the policies flow, and who also serves as a repository of critical information relating to Uber’s policies and practices.

More for the “duh” pile.

B. Increase Management Support for Human Resources.

Senior leadership at Uber should publicly support and embrace the value of Human Resources not only as a recruiting organization, but as an organization that works to protect and retain Uber’s most important asset: its people. It is critical to the goal of establishing trust that Human Resources be seen as vested with true authority to act on all issues affecting employees.

If your head of HR isn’t reporting to the CEO, I’m not sure whether the employees are a priority in your organization. I don’t mean that someone with ‘Human Resources’ or ‘People’ in their title necessarily needs to be at the executive level. A COO or a chief of staff could fit the bill, as someone with executive-level authority who is empowered to act on behalf of the whole staff.

Uber should consider adopting a zero-tolerance policy for substantiated complaints of discrimination and harassment, without regard to whether an employee is a “high performer” or a long-term employee.

CONSIDER? Really? I’m having flashbacks to the day that I was too scared to eat lunch in the company cafeteria because a co-worker had aggressively lashed out at a member of my team for setting their mug down loudly. That guy still worked there when I quit, several years later. It wasn’t discrimination, but it certainly didn’t feel like a safe place to work.

C. Provide a Robust and Effective Complaint Process.

Uber should develop and communicate multiple avenues for lodging a complaint, including an employee’s immediate manager or next-level manager, the organization’s Human Resources Business Partner, or the Integrity Helpline. This encourages employees who may otherwise fear retaliation to come forward, knowing that there are multiple avenues they can utilize if they have a concern.

What’s missing here is information about how the helpline is monitored — and where the complaints go. If this is a whistle-blower line, HR might not be the right place. On the other hand, if it does go straight to HR, why bother with an anonymous line? Do the employees have reason not to trust the HR organization? Should they?

VII. Diversity and Inclusion Enhancements

A. Establish an Employee Diversity Advisory Board.

Uber should consider establishing an employee diversity advisory board, comprised of members of each of Uber’s Employee Resource Groups.

I’m of two minds, here. I’ve seen a lot of rolling eyes and snide remarks about things like employee resource groups. They’re often seen as (at best) a waste of time that members could better spend ‘doing their job’, and (at worst) some sort of exclusive club where (for example) women whine to each other without having any meaningful impact. I think for something like this to be effective, it must have executive sponsorship (not just tacit approval), and the leadership activities that drive these types of programs need to be recognized. The skills that go into effective leadership of a ‘grass roots’ effort like this are seriously beneficial to the company’s interests, and that impact shouldn’t be overlooked, and shouldn’t have to be taken on in addition to regular job duties. The employees running these things are brand ambassadors — both for recruitment and retention.

B. Regularly Publish Diversity Statistics.

The […] Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer should set goals with respect to annual improvements in diversity and regularly publish data on Uber’s diversity and inclusion numbers to judge how the company is meeting its goals.

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Metrics on candidate and employee diversity are easy to gather, and can be an indicator of improvements in the pipeline. As Megan pointed out, metrics on inclusion are way harder. Promotion and turnover rates within diverse employee pools can be key indicators of an inclusiveness problem, but those are both a little more subjective than strictly counting who’s getting hired.

C. Target Diverse Sources of Talent.

Uber should target […] alternative and non-traditional sources of recruiting, and develop deeper partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

It would also be worth exploring partnerships with the Anita Borg Institute and the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. Or any number of student-run diversity groups on any university campus. I don’t understand why this recommendation only included mention of Black & Hispanic sources of talent, but I’m assuming the investigation uncovered something that triggered this recommendation.

D. Utilize Blind Resume Review.

Uber should engage in blind resume review [..] so that the reviewer has access only to the candidate’s substantive skills and experience. Likewise, if possible, Uber should utilize blind review of the exercises required for candidates in technical and engineering positions.

While I’ve seen lots of debate over the methods used in this study, it’s been shown that women’s code is more likely than men’s to be accepted into open source projects — but only if the gender of the coder is unknown to the reviewer. Blind review clearly has some merit.

E. Adopt a Version of the “Rooney Rule.”

Uber should utilize the Rooney Rule for women and other underrepresented populations for key positions, wherein each pool of candidates interviewed for each identified position includes at least one woman and one member of an underrepresented minority group, thereby ensuring that members of the populations currently underrepresented in Uber’s workplace are interviewed with appropriate consistency.

“At least one woman and one member of an underrepresented minority group”? This is weirdly specific, while still being vague, and there’s an odd disconnect between this statement targeted at women, and the recruitment statement in 7E targeting Black and Hispanic colleges. I also have a hard time believing that a rule like this will prevent an applicant interview panel from dismissing the one woman and one other minority candidate as outliers who aren’t a good “culture fit.” The recommendation did also suggest that members of under-represented groups be part of every interview panel, so perhaps that would help prevent that type of issue.

F. Adopt and Promote a Sponsorship Program.

A “sponsor” is an employee who is in a position to promote the success of a more junior employee, or protégé, within the company, and does so.

I LOVE the focus on sponsorship rather than mentorship. A mentor talks to you, whereas a sponsor talks about you. I could (and probably will, eventually) write a whole post purely on the value of sponsorship. My experience has been entirely informal and unofficial, and I can only imagine what it could have looked like if both my sponsor and I had been supported by our employer in that relationship. It’s not just benefits to the protégé, either. If the sponsor’s placing their bets well, it’s not long before “they can become known as an individual who has an entire roster of talented individuals ready to step up to bat when needed.”

It’s worth noting that a formal sponsorship program is exactly the type of thing that I could imagine a full-time “people development program leader and coach” (see 5A) owning, building, and promoting.

G. Recognize and Support Employee Diversity Efforts.

Uber should consider adopting a requirement or recommendation that employees spend a portion of their time on “non-core” job duties devoted to contributing to Uber’s workplace environment, such as devoting time to an Employee Resource Group, a diversity initiative, or the “Bar Raiser” program.

Megan and I disagreed a bit on this one. 🙂 Personally, I think that if these types of efforts are truly important to a company’s culture, that should be recognized in the performance review process. Perhaps not a strict requirement, but certainly a recommendation. I don’t want to have to go “above and beyond” my normal work day in order to help develop other leaders in my organization. Activities that promote diversity and inclusion can become a baseline part of accepting a job at the company. I want to work somewhere where I can lead by example, where I’m supported if and when I try to help someone push past their comfort zone, where I can help organize community action that encourage tech to have a heart, and I know that I don’t have to do it 100% on my own time. I want to be a brand ambassador (see 7A), with company resources behind me, and I’d expect to get some degree of credit for these types of activities in my performance reviews. Why would an employer support these kinds of things that don’t directly contribute to their bottom line? I dunno, why not ask Google?

Megan’s take was a little different. Performance reviews are formal processes designed to manage an employee’s performance in their role. If someone isn’t involved in “non-core” duties, does that mean their overall performance in their role is lacking? Setting an expectation that everyone get involved in other initiatives seems to set people up to sign up for activities they don’t necessarily feel strongly about. Megan envisions committees padded with people who don’t really want to be there, but know they are expected to do something. In an ideal world, there are so many options of non-core work to choose from that everyone can find something that matters to them to focus on. But in the real world, and often in small companies, this just isn’t realistic. This also comes back to recognizing the whole employee — some people have so many commitments outside of work that they simply cannot spend a lot of extra time on non-core work while “on the clock”. Recognizing the employee’s whole self and balancing what they can contribute to core and non-core initiatives at work seems a good practice, whether that’s included in the formal performance review process or not.

H. Recognize Managers for their Diversity Efforts.

Managers who are achieving success with diversifying their organizations should be recognized across the company and their skills and techniques used as a platform to train other managers.

More bits of utter and total duh.

K. Coordinate Efforts.

Uber should require that all offices obtain approval for these initiatives through the Head of Diversity.

Yikes. Great to encourage sharing of learning and best practices, but please don’t require approval to try new things. Gatekeeping (i.e.: approval) deters experimentation & innovation.

L. Solicit Feedback from Employees.

The title of this recommendation is good. The text of the recommendation talks primarily about anonymous surveys, which are fine for tracking progress over time, but it’s even better to have a great employee-manager-HR relationship, where feedback is encouraged and welcomed so nobody feels they need to be anonymous. You need both to keep things on track.

VIII. Changes in Employee Policies and Practices

A. EEO Policies.

Policies should also be clear that managers must immediately report instances of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation of which they become aware to their Human Resources Business Partner for further investigation.

Duh.

Human Resources should emphasize the importance of adhering to the existing policies and codes of conduct for work events such as offsite conferences and meetings, including those held at hotels and resorts. It should not be necessary to draft separate policies for these events.

Duh.

No special treatment should be given to any employee, regardless of level, tenure, or past performance. Uber should consider adopting a zero tolerance stance for violations of the anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, and anti-retaliation policies no matter the level or performance of the perpetrator.

Again with the “consider.” Don’t consider this. Just don’t tolerate this behaviour.

B. Prohibit Romantic or Intimate Relationships Between Individuals in a Reporting Relationship.

Although it is not realistic to prohibit all romantic and intimate relationships in the workplace, it should be emphasized more generally that with respect to such relationships, Uber will not tolerate any form of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.

I like the explicit acknowledgement that it’s not realistic to prohibit all romantic relationships in the workplace, while simultaneously being explicit about zero tolerance for the potential consequences thereof. I know too many great couples that met at work to think it’d be realistic to prohibit these entirely. 🙂

C. Institute and Enforce Clear Guidelines on Alcohol Consumption and the Use of Controlled Substances.

Uber should take steps to provide clear guidelines about acceptable and unacceptable uses of alcohol and strictly prohibit the use of controlled substances, including prohibiting consumption of alcohol during core work hours and prohibiting consumption of non-prescription controlled substances during core work hours, at work events, or at other work-sponsored events. With respect to alcohol consumption at after-hours work events and at other work-sponsored events, Uber should consider limiting the budget available to managers for alcohol purchases, restrict reimbursement for alcohol-related events, and include training for managers on appropriate events for retreats and out-of-work events. Uber should also encourage responsible drinking, which can include limiting the amount of alcohol that is available in the office, de-emphasizing alcohol as a component of work events, and otherwise taking appropriate action to discipline and address inappropriate employee conduct fueled by alcohol consumption. Uber should support work events in which alcohol is not a strong component to ensure that employees who do not partake in consumption of alcohol still have opportunities to engage in networking and team building activities.

Wow. Seriously duh. Every word. How do alcoholics in the tech industry even function? It seems like every recruitment event has an open bar, and half the tech companies I hear of have a keg on tap. Does the industry suck so much that you have to drink to get through the day? Let’s focus on eliminating the suckage, if it does. I don’t think it does, but then, I don’t work at a company with a company keg in the kitchen, either. And I left shortly after my previous employer introduced beer Fridays. Hmmm…

D. Remove Transfer Barriers.

The text of this recommendation feels a lot like there’s a bigger back story.

Uber should […] modify the transfer request process to eliminate the manner in which performance is factored into the transfer request.

We agree that a low performer in one role, doesn’t always mean they’ll be a low performer somewhere else. Likewise, a high performer in one role doesn’t automatically mean they’ll be a high performer elsewhere. But it seems strange to eliminate performance as a factor in a transfer request at any time. Performance has to be a factor — but the REASON for the performance is the real factor that should be considered.

… determine whether the employee is requesting a transfer for reasons relating to a difficult or divisive work environment, or if a supervisor is attempting to block a transfer for improper purposes. This process will help to both regularly monitor cultural issues and prevent discriminatory conduct from affecting workplace decisions.

Maybe this is the heart of this recommendation — is there a consistent pattern of people trying to move out of a certain team? Is there a pattern of a specific manager trying to block internal transfers of certain types of people? Focus on that — the cause of the turnover or lack thereof. Don’t focus on formal policies around the internal transfer process.

E. Modify Uber’s Performance Review Process.

Entire books have been written on performance review processes, and there’s a great deal of debate about the effectiveness of any one approach. There’s a ton of detailed recommendations in the report on this topic, and I don’t think this is a one-size-fits-all topic.

I want to (continue to) work for a manager where Megan’s suggested approach works:

“Consider a mix of formal performance evaluations & frequent coaching sessions. If the company finds value in the formal system, then keep it with the modifications suggested. But there’s merit in scrapping the whole thing and instead focusing on frequent coaching sessions only, which provide maximum value to the employee & team.”

This relies on trust and a great manager-employee relationship, though. Neither of which it sounds like are very common at Uber.

F. Make Promotion Requirements Clearer.

A formal process for self-nominations and peer/manager-nominations submitted to an independent committee will bring more legitimacy and fairness to the promotion process.

I’ll quote Megan again, here: “Formal process isn’t necessary for everyone, but transparency of decision making related to promotions or internal transfers is. Employees need to feel they have the opportunity to grow & succeed in the organization — when they know what opportunities are available and what it takes to achieve success, they will trust in the methods & know when the time is right for change. Formal processes don’t automatically make this happen, particularly when they are inflexible.”

Two additions of my own: I actually remember asking Megan, when she was on her way out the door of the HR department at our mutual previous employer, “How the heck do people actually get promoted, here?” Also, as I mentioned under 5C, I had someone recently tell me they had no clear idea of what they should be doing to progress beyond “junior.” It’s important to at least write down some expectations for each level of seniority in each role, and to encourage self/peer nominations for promotion.

G. Flexible Work.

Uber should consider adopting flexible work arrangements, including a policy of permitting routine and regular remote work in appropriate circumstances, to help attract and retain employees with children and other outside obligations

I like that this mentions “and other outside obligations,” and not just children. Every family is different — and it’s not just parents that have non-work responsibilities to juggle. Needs for flexible working arrangements come in many forms, from caring for the elderly to family members with special needs, and the shape of your family is none of your employer’s business, as long as you’re able to perform your job duties.

H. Catered Dinner.

Uber should consider moving the catered dinner it offers to a time when this benefit can be utilized by a broader group of employees, including employees who have spouses or families waiting for them at home, and that signals an earlier end to the work day.

We both love that someone has said this publicly. Providing catered meals all day, even when it includes family members, always seems to signal that employees should be at work all the time. It’s hard to consider this a benefit. I’ve seen a couple of places that offer breakfast and lunch only, and that seems to me like a much more inclusive approach. Alleviate the craziness of the morning rush with breakfast, but leave dinner for family time. Don’t get me wrong — I LOVE eating lunch with my team, most days, but I also love breaking bread with my family & friends. Let’s also not pretend that “it’s not like it’s mandatory” alleviates any concerns, here: when there’s a critical mass (or even an exclusive club) that does partake, those that don’t will end up missing out on forming social bonds that can lead to a great deal of future success. This is the golf course or cigar club of the modern age.

I. Even Application of Policies and Practices.

Policies and practices should be applied consistently throughout the organization. No special treatment should be given to any employee, regardless of level, tenure, or past performance.

Reading between the lines, I think I get what this is trying to address, but Megan raised an important point. There are grey areas to every situation, and there’s a lot of comfort for people to know that decisions are often made on a case-by-case basis. Policies are often too restrictive and don’t take into account that these are humans who have different needs at different times of their lives. On the other hand, there are certain categories of policies that should absolutely be cut and dry — sexual harassment clearly being one of those.

IX. Address Employee Retention.

Significant consideration should be given to evaluating the reasons that employees are motivated to leave and addressing key drivers of employee turnover.

The report suggests exit interviews with a neutral third party as one way to identify trends and patterns in employee turnover, but internal surveys and pattern analysis on the groups with high turnover are other possible approaches here.

X. Review and Assess Uber’s Pay Practices.

Uber should comprehensively audit and review its practices […] to ensure compensation is set for legitimate business-related reasons.

Let me just re-read that. “…ensure that compensation is set for legitimate business-related reasons…”? Did I read that right? I think this last one pretty much sums up this entire report — my reaction is a perfect combination of “Duh.”, “What happened for someone to have to write this down?”, and “Of course every company should be doing this.” For what other reasons would compensation be set, exactly?

Don’t answer that.