(Image source: Pixabay)
As a company, Uber has a bad history.
For one thing, Uber has position itself as a promoter of sexual misconduct. Uber drivers have, time and again, engaged in sexual assault. Drivers will pick a female driver and, often, rape them in the middle of a trip. Or just grope them in a daylight.
For another, despite the company's growth and popularity, its executives failed to abide with transport authorities, cooperate with law enforcement, or take responsibility for its action. These and a range of many other activities have painted the company's image black, which leads its CEO, Travis Kalanick to resign earlier in June this year.
The new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, wants to atone for all the previous sins committed by his company. So, he embarked on a long, tough project of reviving his company's values, sprucing up its image, and winning public trust again.
Here are seven actions Mr. Khosrowshahi has taken since his assumption in office to fix Uber's broken image.
1. "180 days of change"
Dara Khosrawshahi's first job was to mend past damages. To do so, he started with some radical reforms. In a strong, bold move to restore his company's image, Uber's new CEO organized a driver advisory forum, a group of drivers that were charged with the responsibility of reporting to the company's executives.
The goal is to create a new alliance and relationship between Uber and its driver-partners based on mutual understanding and mutual relationship something that's missing in the past. The goal of this forum is to join hands in partnership with both the company and its drivers to solve the problems bedeviling the company in what is known as the "180 days of change."
2. Joining a global public transport association
Aside from improving relations with its driver-partners, Uber also sets to improve relations with transport authorities. In the past, we have seen how the company engaged in combative relationships with transport authorities both at home and abroad with transport authorities.
To improve its public image, the company now joins the global public transport association. Let's the bygone be bygone. The new Uber wants to integrate with transport authorities, play by the rules, establish a healthy working relationship, and move forward.
3. Apologizing for an old, reckless behavior
It's common, in the past, to read all sort of headlines in national dailies involving Uber in criminal and illegal deals. One of the top ones that come to mind is an episode in which Uber under Kalanick paid $100, 000 to hackers to steal data from the customers and drivers it does business with.
This reckless behavior, of course, called for an apology; however, Kalanick didn't apologize. Last year, Mr. Khosrowshahi, part of his project to fix the company's image, apologized to its 50 million customers and drivers. Good job, Khosrowshahi.
4. A goodwill gesture
Kalanick himself was alleged to have been involved in sexual misconduct, not to talk of his drivers who were not only involved in cases of groping, rapes, and assault, but in theft and even murder. Uber's image has been tarnished over the years.
However, the company wants to re-brand itself. By donating money to charitable organizations involved in the project of preventing sexual assaults and domestic violence, the company is portraying itself as anti-sexual misconducts, a new move that will spruce up its image and hopefully boosts its credibility in the public eyes.
5. Drafting the new "cultural norms"
It seems that Uber's core old company values are not working. In a bold move to mend its damaging credentials, the new company CEO has put to pen what he called, Uber's new "cultural norms" – ethics, morals, and principles that guide the workings and operations of the company.
Words like "always be hustling" and toe-stepping" are part of its new cultural norms. Apparently, the company is trying to instill good moral values and principles in its culture, replacing its old habit. One strong message is summed up in the entry, "We do the right thing. Period." It couldn't be clearer!
6. Mending relationship with London transportation authority
In the past, Uber was at war with London transportation authorities. London transportation authority faulted the ride-hailing company for failing to handle its corporate responsibilities, which among other things include tackling its drivers' misconducts.
Now the company is responding to this. Khosrowshahi wrote a letter to the London transportation authorities apologizing for his company's past mistakes, and opening a new chapter for mutual respect and being law-abiding, something the company's former CEO didn't do in the past.
7. No more spying
After the completion of every successful trip, Uber used to track or spy its riders for five minutes. That had sparked a long outcry and uproar in the past, casting yet another doubt against Uber's credibility as a company. The company's new leadership thought that to improve its credibility, such actions have to be stopped.
Today Uber under Khosrowshahi didn't only admit that it used to spy on its customers but it also assured its riders that it will never do that again. This will provide a sense of relief both to the old as well as to new Uber customers.
Taking responsibility is one of the core work ethics of a responsible company. The company has neglected its responsibilities in the past; something the new Uber CEO wants to stop in order to fix the company's tarnish image and improve its relationship with its customers, driver-partners, and the public at large.