Gender Discrimination: How UBER Can Develop a Competitive Advantage through HRM

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Human resource management has evolved a lot, there are many new strategies and ideas which can help any organization or industry to get an edge over their competitors. Uber Technologies Inc. can implement more ideas through HRM to gain an advantage in the industry. Uber is going through turmoil, as there are several statements about the poor conditions at the office which Uber needs to tackle.

Uber Technologies Inc. is an American multinational ride-sharing company that operates in more than 785 metropolitan areas worldwide. They have a wide range of services from taxi sharing to food deliveries to even helicopter service in certain countries. “As of 2019, Uber is estimated to have 110 million users worldwide, a 69% market share in the United States for passenger transport and a 25% market share for food delivery.” (‘Uber’, 2019)

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Uber is facing a lot of problems; it is not able to compete on the same level of prices with its competition overseas. It has been reported that Uber is losing money about 25 cents per dollar it gets. Not only on the roads but uber is also going through the worst phase of its office reputation, recently a former employee posted a blog stating the negative side of Uber office culture. The company is losing its reputation along with the income which is very much worrying for the company this big. Uber can overcome this problem and get an advantage over the other competitors through HRM.

Competitive advantage in the industry can be game-changing, HRM could change the game through promoting commitment and motivation which in turn gives out a valuable return to the company. This can put the company ahead of the competition with respect to the product quality, the services and value. This helps in the development of employees as well as the culture in the organization which drives the performance thus, giving a noticeable advantage to the company. Human resource management can do this by practicing new ways which focus on employment security, training, communication, teamwork and compensation.

Out of these, teamwork and communication are the most important which should be given the most focus on, these are proven to improve the company’s performance by enhancing the motivation level of the workforce. The study shows that HRM is considered number one source to develop a competitive advantage in the large, high level organizations (Gürlek & Tuna, 2017). Most often HR thinks that the most important role of the HRM is to recruit the right employee in order to maximize the performance of the company. Uber had the same thought; over the years their main focus was on recruiting the best possible employee. This resulted in a work environment which became the worst place for the employees to work at. Most new companies or small companies which are in transition to become large companies face this challenge. Proper HRM can help give a competitive advantage and make the company’s environment very much appreciated which motivates and the employees feel good which reduces the turnover rate. Companies like Google and Netflix who are highly popular in 2019 have the best HRM in the industry, thus, complementing the reputation and productivity.

Uber Technologies Inc. is a high-growth, private technology company that places an emphasis on company expansion and profit. In doing so, the company neglected to put necessary structures in place, such as human resources, to manage and supplement this growth (Dornfeld, 2019). The biggest challenges are faced by companies where the CEOs do not put much emphases on the importance of HRM. Uber faced the same problem where they neglected most of the aspects of HRM and focused only on recruiting. Soon the problems started to show up. Uber is facing a lot of social pressure as there are so many cases involved with bad work culture. The main challenges the company is facing is with gender discrimination, sexual harassment and toxic work environment.

Gender discrimination is still the biggest challenge the company is facing. Uber had been investigated by the US government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over concerns about gender inequity at the company, according to The Wall Street Journal. This investigation started due to a former employee’s blog on the internet regarding the discrimination faced by her during her time in the company. Recently, Uber’s HR department head resigned after he was charged with multiple allegations of racial comments. This had a big impact on the reputation of the company.

Another big challenge faced by Uber is related to harassment in the work culture at Uber. Uber has been notoriously facing high charges against them. It has been reported that in the United States there have been over 100 cases of sexual assault coming from Uber drivers. The problem raised publicly when the former employee shared a blog post stating how the manager harassed her. This instantly shook the company, which resulted in the company firing 20 employees over this case. Even though this challenge is tackled every day, it is one of the biggest challenges faced by the company.

Due to gender discrimination and sexual harassment, the work culture or the environment of the company became highly toxic. The employees lost trust in the company and there were many employees who left the company, this also affected the performance as the employees were highly demotivated and lost brand trust. As the company focused more on recruiting highly skilled employees, they did not give out any training which is a necessity to build a common work culture and to maintain a basic understanding. Toxic people were employed because of their high skill level but the company neglected their misbehavior and misconduct. This resulted in becoming one of the biggest challenges for the company. This resulted in the workforce not being able to grow and resulted in poor productivity. The lack of innovation and miscommunication resulted in high employee turnover (‘Uber’s Culture Problems and What HR Can Learn from Them — Impraise Blog – Employee performance management, reviews and 360 feedback’, 2019).

Almost all the organizations face these challenges but some just overcome it and use HRM to get an advantage in the industry. Every organization can work on and improve their HRM to avoid and handle all these work culture problems. In order to reduce the specific challenges of discrimination, harassment and the toxic work environment, HR along with the employees can prevent and completely remove the misconduct from their organization (Bullying & workplace, 2019).

It all comes down to understanding that HRM is not only for recruiting but also about screening and maintaining order amidst the workforce. To prevent all this from this happening the company must make sure that they train the new recruits and educate them about discrimination and emphasize how powerful it is to stand against it and not practice it. HR should make sure that people from all parts of the world are welcomed and do not feel left out, employees must be encouraged to respect the differences and appreciate the skills of others. A sense of strict policies within the workforce must be created which makes sure that the company employees respect others and prohibits discrimination.

Harassment can be prevented by setting up strict policies against it, an action must be taken on anyone who finds themselves guilty of harassment. The most important aspect of dealing with harassment of any kind is making sure the victim feels safe, the support from the head and the colleagues are a must. Uber was found guilty when the HR did not take any action against the offender due to his high post and his influence in the office. This must be amended by improving the policies and strictly following them.

The magic trick to get a competitive advantage in the industry is to have excellent communication between the employees and the managers. This is also true when dealing with a toxic work environment. The first thing any HR should be doing is to listen to the employees and knowing what problems they are facing. Making the workplace a communicable place is very important which gives the employees a sense of a safe place. To make it even secure, surveys can be taken where the feedback can be given out anonymously. This significantly reduces any fear or resentment among the staff. Another important aspect of fixing a toxic workplace is to work on transparency. All the staff members must be notified about all the important stuff and must be kept in a loop or follow-ups should be given to given out a sense of togetherness and being involved in the projects (Lorenz, 2019).

Uber is a very big company with a very high reputation in the market. By handling the problems positively, showing a sense of responsibility towards the employees is a feature of a big-name company. Through HRM Uber can not only solve all the workplace problems but also can get an advantage over its competitors who face the same problems at their workplace. Only a few subtle changes can have a major impact on the workforce through HRM.


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