The Solution to Uber's Culture Crisis Could be Hiring Veterans

Military service imbues values that every employer hopes new hires have.
The Solution to Uber's Culture Crisis Could be Hiring Veterans
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Uber is being skewered in the news right now for their “unrestrained” corporate culture that may have led to incidents of sexual harassment at the company. Not to mention the recent caught-on-camera argument between the company’s CEO and one of its drivers. Believe it or not that’s not all. The New York Times has now reported that Uber’s been deliberately evading the authorities in markets that were trying to limit the company’s operating ability.

Uber isn’t the only company to be exposed for their corporate culture kinks. The sales scandal involving millions of fake customer accounts at Wells Fargo as well as the dog-eat-dog environment that exists over at Amazon are just a few that come to mind.

Related: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Says He Needs to 'Grow Up' after Video of Argument with a Driver Released

So you see, even the CEOs of the world’s most innovative and successful companies need leadership help from time to time. My best advice to companies like these? Hire more veterans.

By far, the biggest values a veteran adds to any company’s broken culture are restraint and unit cohesion. They’re taught to adopt a philosophy that equally embraces two crucial business priorities: mission accomplishment and troop welfare, something that the companies mentioned here seem to struggle with.

There’s a philosophy out there among many organizations that says, “We can train hard skills, but we hire for attitude and soft skills.” Soft skills being things like positive attitude, strong work ethic, resilience and mental toughness to name a few. The problem with that philosophy is, anyone can have a good attitude when they want to get something from you, like a job for example. It’s easy to put on a show for an interview or series of interviews and relying on personality assessments has hardly solved the problem.

In order to increase your firm’s chances of landing a recruit with a bona fide, genuine package of those ever-elusive softs skills, hire more veterans. Why? Because they’ve already been trained, tested and trained and tested again for them. Here are 8 soft skills that veterans bring to every company’s culture and why you should hire them into leadership positives to solve corporate culture problems.

Related: Uber Says It Will No Longer Use Tech to Target Law Enforcement

Unit cohesion.

This goes beyond simply being a team player. It is the bonding together of team members and employees in such a way as to sustain their will and commitment to each other, the company, the task at hand, and the overall mission and values of the organization, despite obstacles, adversity and stress.

Balanced business objectives.

The veteran equally embraces two crucial business priorities: mission accomplishment and troop welfare. The mission must be accomplished and it gets accomplished by the troops. Companies that run roughshod over their employees in order to accomplish the mission will not last. As this progresses, good employees leave and it gets more difficult to acquire real talent going forward. Veterans in leadership positions unconsciously do this so you don’t have to spend time and money training it.

Related: Uber Founder Resigns From Trump Council.

Withstanding burnout.

Veterans generally are much better at withstanding burnout because they have been tested beyond what we would consider normal limits. Thus, veterans have more stamina and endurance for stress. Most veterans are mentally tough and resilient because they been through far more difficulty and stress than you can imagine. They’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt, coffee mug and souvenir shot glass -- all before they were in their mid-20s.

Related: In Defense of Uber, Amazon and Meritocracy

Dealing with difficult people.

Veterans are desensitized to difficult personality and communication styles by design, and therefore, learn not to internalize a boss’s demeanor, or to confuse style with content. Veterans are trained to put more weight on what was said and less weight on how it was said, which makes for a dream employee for tough and demanding bosses. As a byproduct, veterans don’t get sucked into office drama of personal slights and gossip.

Can do attitude.

Veterans spend their energy focusing on what can be done, not why it can’t be done. This is a radical shift from the clear majority of employees in today’s workforce. For veterans, proactively solving problems is who they are. Being a walking solution to any and all problems is infused in the veterans’ DNA.

Related: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Launches Investigation into Sexual Harassment Claims

Diversity and inclusion.

From the first day to the last of military service, veterans entrust their lives and well-being to those in their unit. Military units are made up of every imaginable combination of background, race, socio-economic level, religion, personality, education, gender and ethnicity. Nothing like a little incoming to get over differences and divides real-quick.

Related: How a Stronger HR Function Could Have Helped Uber Avoid the Sexual Harassment Scandal

Monster work ethic.

For veterans, entitlement is something for civilian millennials, please don’t lump them in with that group. Companies are spending massive amounts of money on figuring out how to manage millennials. The military already did, so do yourself a favor and piggy-back on what they’ve already accomplished.

Related: What Businesses Can Learn from #DeleteUber

Core values.

Veterans live by the core values of duty, honor and respect. They know who they are and what values they ascribe to. Most people are rarely able to articulate the core values that dictate their actions, habits and behaviors, but without them, company cultures easily find themselves astray. Sexual harassment, discrimination, records falsified, short cuts taken, fake accounts created, prices fixed, insider trading and on and on.

Most importantly, veterans lead from the front. They influence the entire company culture by modelling these behaviors. Regardless of their title or position, veterans will set a shining and unbending example to every single person in the company. The more you fill your ranks with them, the greater impact they will have on your culture, performance and bottom line.

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