Uber's Latest Investment: Its People

Uber are creating a unique environment for future leaders


Uber is the sharing economy’s poster child.

As the story goes, two multimillionaires - Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp - were stranded in Paris on a rainy night. But with an unpleasant evening spent in a rain-soaked Paris a company worth $50 billion was formed.

The company isn’t without its flaws or controversies though. The platform’s map capabilities leave much to be desired, and sometimes leave passengers unable to find their drivers. This led the company to turn to former Google VP engineering, Brian McClendon.

McClendon oversees the Uber Advanced Technologies Center, a new branch of the company’s operations, formed from their recent strategic partnership with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg. As well as working on map functionality, the center will also focus on preparing Uber for autonomous cars.

Certain media organizations, including TechCrunch, predict that self-driving cars could spell the end for Uber. Kyle Samani states: Autonomous vehicles break the ‘marketness’ that makes Uber a market of drivers and riders. Supply will outstrip demand as vehicles become available 24/7 at dramatically lower marginal cost’.

With this in mind, Uber is concentrating on investing in its people. And the ability to poach executives from companies as esteemed as Google gives them a considerable competitive advantage. The company’s corporate culture - despite the negative criticism and lawsuits concerning driver treatment - is known for promoting professional development, and recognizing excellence.

Their strategy is to promote ‘continuous learning’, and in an article in Fortune Jason Wingard states: ‘Instead of just getting work done, the culture transforms a company into a place where employees feel motivated and empowered to develop new ideas, concepts, and recommendations that are actively advancing individual and collective innovation well beyond what’s normally expected.’

Not only does this improve staff evaluation, it also helps leaders to develop in an environment where they can actively influence those around them early on. Talent is imperative in the startup environment. Losing it can not only reflect in company’s revenues, but their culture. That’s why talent is more important than anything else for startups. Therefore it’s important that there are strategies to protect it. Increasingly, Uber is becoming the go-to case study for this.

Uber’s workforce appreciates this continuous learning environment. It keeps them motivated and promoting the brand. Talent is now the strongest currency and the taxi app is proving this more than most. With self-driving cars set to challenge Uber’s grip on the market, the company’s talent retention strategy seems sensible.


Image: Prathan Chorruangsak / Shutterstock.com


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