What Uber Teaches CEOs About Employee Satisfaction

by Chris Rhatigan on Aug 1, 2016 1:00:00 PM

pain points for Uber drivers

Uber is in some ways a unique business model. It has very little face-to-face contact with most of its drivers. Most people are working with Uber to earn a little extra money instead of as a career. It acts more as a conduit between service providers and customers. But its drivers have the basic needs of all workers.

Uber has addressed some of these problems well, but it still has room to improve. One external study found that 71% of drivers were satisfied with working for Uber (though drivers were financially incentivized to fill out the survey).

Retention Woes

Despite strong numbers on satisfaction, Uber is susceptible to high turnover rates. Half of all drivers leave the company within a year and 11% quit within a month, according to Forbes

For an on-demand employer like Uber, this isn’t terribly surprising. Many people find that the work is more difficult than they expected or that they simply don’t have time. However, Glassdoor reports that employees are having trouble with work-life balance issues, and some complain that they’re not making a fair wage. Here are three challenges that Uber — and all CEOs — deal with:

01. Pay

Uber’s business model is intended to offer the same service as existing taxi companies at a cheaper price. But it has to pay drivers enough to keep them coming back. This leaves the company with little wiggle room.

A chief complaint among drivers is recent fare cuts. Prices dropped in New York City by 15%, leaving drivers working more hours for the same amount of money, the New York Post reported. This shift was intended to deal a blow to competitors but alienated some Uber drivers.

02. Flexibility

On Glassdoor, drivers consistently noted that the flexibility of working for the company was one of its strong points. But one blogger who specializes in the rideshare industry noted that Uber’s new policy of guaranteed hourly earnings requires drivers to work at certain times and accept a certain percentage of fares.

One of the primary benefits of working for Uber was its flexibility — this is usually a second job for drivers, with a majority of drivers reporting working 15 hours a week or fewer, according to Slate.

With 37% of all employees reporting in a Gallup poll that they telecommute, more flexibility is the future of the workplace. If Uber wants to keep its drivers around, it needs to let them work when they want and how much they want.

37% of employees telecommute

03. Security

Uber’s drivers have dealt with all matter of abuse from passengers. One Los Angeles driver was assaulted by two passengers who broke his jaw in two places. A Boston driver had racial slurs hurled at him by a passenger who then stole his car. A San Francisco passenger assaulted a driver, putting him in the hospital, as noted by Forbes

But drivers for Uber are independent contractors. Consequently, the company has no legal obligation to cover their medical costs when they’re hurt on the job. This fact has some Uber drivers angry, as the job does come with a certain level of risk.

Uber drivers’ needs are similar to those of all employees. They want to be fairly compensated; they want flexibility; and they want to know that the company will take care of them when they need it. TINYpulse




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This post was written by Chris Rhatigan

Chris Rhatigan is a freelance writer and editor. He is a former newspaper reporter for The New Haven Register and The Iowa City Press-Citizen. He enjoys playing old video games, studying (and trying to speak) Hindi, and walking his dog on the local trails. He lives in India.