- Tesla announced a leadership change within its HR department earlier this week amid a string of public allegations from a number of U.S. and international employees, Buzzfeed News reports.
- Gaby Toledano, formerly of Electronic Arts, will succeed Arnnon Geshuri as Tesla's VP of Human Resources, the automotive and energy company announced in a statement. Geshuri is the third HR executive to leave Tesla in 2017, according to Buzzfeed.
- Tesla has been the target of several recent controversies, with employees reporting instances of discrimination, unsafe working conditions and workplace harassment. POLITICO's Morning Shift reports that data analyzed by Worksafe, a nonprofit focused on occupational safety, shows injury rates at Tesla plants were higher than industry averages in 2014 and 2015, and were similarly on track for 2016.
It's important not to forget the context of the announcement, given its occurrence just months after Tesla employee Jose Moran wrote a blog post criticizing managers at a Tesla plant in Fremont, CA for alleged safety violations. Moran also called on Tesla employees to unionize in cooperation with the United Auto Workers union.
Tesla leadership has vehemently denied the allegations, with CEO Elon Musk calling Moran's assertions "outright false." But the controversies have grown in number since then, the most poignant being a video taken by one of its manufacturing plant workers which recorded the use of racial slurs from co-workers targeting the employee.
Without diving into the particulars of each incident in depth, the takeaway for HR leaders, particularly at industry disrupters like Tesla, is the need to listen to employee complaints directly and candidly. Not even halfway into 2017, several organizations have had to deal with the fallout of poor HR practices and documentation. Incidents at Fox News and Uber immediately come to mind, but this trend goes beyond a small handful of firms.
Simultaneously, ethics reporting rates have increased steadily since 2010, with nearly 1.4 reported incidents per 100 employees in 2016. More than ever, the C-Suite has been tasked with leading by example when it comes to ethical conduct.
As with many processes in HR, the cure begins with culture. How should employees expect to be treated in the workplace, and to which values will management point in the event that things go south?
Some, like Google, have upped transparency and accountability, though the tech giant itself is no stranger to HR controversy. Google employees have begun meticulously documenting instances of biases and harassment encountered during the day-to-day, with 20% of staff subscribed to an email list that reports any such incidents.