How to Build a Winning Team, Lessons from UBER
The sharing economy is in constant flux. With shifts in regulations, technology and competition, any company operating in this model must be ready to switch gears at a moment’s notice. This inconsistency places great demands on employees, making it essential for companies to have hiring practices that develop the right kind of workforce.
Your employees must be innovative, forward-thinking and adaptable if you hope to grow as a business -- or even compete at all. Many companies take reactive approaches to hiring that prioritize speed to beat out the competition. But this isn’t the best approach.
Uber is far from reactionary. The transportation network company is known for its demanding interview process -- some steps take weeks to complete. Uber has also taken steps to standardize its interview process across all departments, asking candidates to solve real-world scenarios instead of answering the traditional questions. If someone’s not quite ready for the position, he can participate in “Uberversity,” a three-day training session.
You need to think critically about your hiring process and whether you’re scoring the right kind of employees for your company’s needs. The Uber model ensures every employee in every department has the skills and temperament needed to succeed. You need to overhaul your hiring practices, and Uber’s style can help you get there. Here are a few tips for getting started:
1. Strategize your hiring practices.
Take an honest look at your culture and organizational needs, and use that to inform your strategy. Remember that a time-intensive method will ensure your candidates are properly screened for personality, skill, experience and education -- and that the candidates who stick with the process are proving their interest.
As the riots in Paris demonstrated, the issues Uber faces aren’t always PR problems; sometimes, the issues involve environments that can pose dangers to riders and drivers. In Spain, Uber has pivoted from ride sharing. And in the U.S., Uber is expanding its offerings to include handicapped access and delivery services to stay ahead.
This fast-paced environment leaves little margin for error and requires a specific type of employee. Stringent hiring processes ensure employees can operate under pressure and think creatively about solving problems.
2. Establish principles to ensure continuity.
As your company grows, you won’t feasibly be able to weigh in on hiring decisions.
To maintain a coherent culture, standardize your principles to help hiring managers make good choices. Uber’s method solves this through its questionnaires, using a single template across all departments to maintain consistency.
3. Keep your eyes on the future.
Hiring for existing needs is important, but you also need to consider the direction of your company.
Uber isn’t the only company that follows this advice. In a 1998 letter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote, “It would be impossible to produce results in an environment as dynamic as the Internet without extraordinary people. … Setting the bar high in our approach to hiring has been, and will continue to be, the single most important element of Amazon.com’s success.”
Then, the company implemented a system in which the highest performers were directly involved in hiring employees and could veto candidates if they weren’t considered improvements. Today, Amazon has a market cap of $250 billion.
4. Redefine employee perks.
While table tennis and sushi are great, many startups waste valuable time thinking about perks to improve employee engagement. Netflix took a different approach by positioning its talent philosophy as a perk. It only hires A players and believes excellent colleagues trump everything else.
The fast-paced environment of the sharing economy leaves little margin for error, and a specific type of talent is necessary to keep startups afloat. Uber has found a way to rope in that talent on a consistent basis, and using its process will ensure you have the best people from the start.