After nearly five months of digging into Uber's internal culture, its new chief human resources officer says the ride-hailing company's treatment of women — which gave it a public black eye after charges of persistent sexism and discrimination were detailed by a former employee — is no worse at Uber than at other companies.
"Wherever I have worked, I have seen things that are not great for women," Liane Hornsey told USA TODAY as she awaits the imminent release of an internal investigation into Uber's culture spurred by the revelations of former engineer Susan Fowler. Hornsey says she hasn't been privy to that investigation, helmed by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
"I worked in entertainment for six years," said Hornsey, whose resume includes stops at BMG Music, Google and Softbank. "I don't think it's about tech, or this city or this company. I think it's about the world of work, and I think that it's something that we have to take really super seriously."
Hornsey, who started at Uber on Jan. 3, has conducted more than 200 separate "listening tour" sessions since February to get a handle on the company's biggest HR problems.
But she says the issue of sexual harassment as described in a Feb. 19 post by Fowler, who notified Uber's human resources about sexual advances from her boss but was told he could not be disciplined because he was too valued by the company, has not surfaced.
Instead, employees have been more rankled by compensation issues (the start-up, valued at $69 billion, has held off an IPO), the performance review process, and a feeling that Uber doesn't fully appreciate them.
"They need more love and respect from the company," she said. "That's my sense of what's wrong."