“Empower People To Not Be Bullied By Elon” And Other Insights From Tesla Employee Survey

Employees expressed worries about Elon Musk’s leadership in an internal 2018 Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) worker survey done during a difficult era for the company.

The survey results was part of the documents disclosed in the ongoing lawsuit against Musk related to a nearly $56 billion compensation package at the carmaker company.

In March 2018, Tesla’s former chief people officer, Gabrielle Toledano, sent the survey to board member Ira Ehrenpreis, who chairs the company’s remuneration committee. She cited two significant issues raised by employees in her email: worries about salary and leadership at Tesla, notably around Elon Musk.

“Review of employee survey results,” Toledano said in the email. “Not good on [compensation, especially] from VPs, and not good on leadership, mostly about Elon.”

Beyond the results, comments from workers qualifying the company management are very telling of the situation, particularly about Musk’s leadership.

“Elon fired multiple engineers and KUKA at gigafactory last year. If it was because of his ego, that needs to change,” said one employee comment.

Another worker said that the company culture from Musk imposed that one is “lucky to work for Tesla.”

One suggested to “empower people to not be bullied by Elon into making unrealistic commitments.”

The survey results bring further context with how Musk is handling his newest venture, Twitter. Hundreds of employees are reportedly voluntarily leaving following his ultimatum of pushing the company to be “extremely hardcore,” supposedly in order to survive the increasingly competitive environment.

“This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade,” the memo read.

“Tesla is hemorrhaging highly talented, ferociously driven people who truly believe in the company’s vision and continue to hope for its success,” wrote another worker in the survey. “Elon is a technical leader of the highest order, and yet is widely seen as an unapproachable tyrant who devalues the contributions of the staff, and may fire them on a whim… we treat people, the fundamental unit of a company, like any other expendable resource.”

Another Tesla employee wrote that “the blame placed by Elon and the Exec team on lower level engineers without owning any accountability” has led the worker to lose all trust in Musk as a leader of the company.

This relates to one of Musk’s major changes in Twitter: $8 per month subscription for the blue check mark verification feature. Engineers working on the feature were reportedly told to finish the work in days or else leave the firm.

Musk has reportedly fired employees who were found to have made fun of him or made critical comments privately on the company’s Slack channels or publicly on Twitter, according to The New York Times and NBC News, citing information from current and former Twitter employees.

Since Musk took over, the platform has been in a rapid and unprecedented workforce shuffle–from firing top executives including former CEO Parag Agrawal, to laying off around 3,700 employees in one of the tech world’s largest tech job cuts. He was also reportedly asking employees to a meeting with one-hour notice, rumored to be warning them that if they don’t show up, their resignations will be accepted instead.

READ: Elon Musk’s Massive 3,700-Job Layoffs To Face Lawsuit From Fired Twitter Employees

Despite various criticisms of Musk, 98% of the Tesla employees polled said they were “proud of the effect Tesla is making in the world.”

The survey, participated by Tesla professionals, managers, executives, and directors, showed that 65% indicated they trusted Musk and the executive team to “balance employee interests with those of the company,” and 67% said Musk and his executives “care about the company’s employees.”

58% of employees at the professional or higher level thought they were “fairly compensated” for their work.

The results of the survey were highlighted last week during the first day of testimony in a Tesla shareholder’s lawsuit against Musk over his pay package, in which Musk and the company were accused of breaching their fiduciary duties by granting compensation that was “beyond the bounds of reasonable judgment.”

The email was touted as possible evidence that the Tesla CEO was a “threatening” figure to Tesla employees, particularly those in charge of approving his compensation package.

Information for this briefing was found via Business Insider and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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