Wanted: HR rock stars at Tesla

Known globally as one of the world’s most innovative companies, it is not surprising that the firm’s approach to HR also pushes the boundaries.

“A wide range of companies are demanding and actively leading the development of more progressive forms of HR. The models and approaches can be quite different but we get the point completely: HR is changing and the early convoy of bandwagons is growing in number every day.”
Ben Whitter, leader of organisation and people development at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, talked about how the HR role is changing… in a good way. One company which stands out here, he said, is Tesla – a firm that pushes boundaries within HR as much as it does with its electric cars.
“The HR rock star being advocated at Tesla is a good example to take note of,” he said.
The firm’s vision for HR is a function which is fully-fledged and integrated with the business.
“There seems to be a zero-tolerance approach to any kind of disconnect between the business and HR,” he noted. This is included in the company’s job ads which list criteria such as: “Speak business, not HR. We don’t much like HR lingo and some of it is just silly … PIP this!”
Some of the other characteristics that Tesla is looking for in HR include:
  • Be a leader throughout Tesla – speak up, exert influence to create positive change and manage your boss, when needed.  We are all human, except those who are robots.
  • Be a trusted business partner and coach to our leaders. Have some popcorn with them on Wednesday afternoons every now and then.
  • Understand our business and how what you do helps it accelerate at rocket speeds. Please remember to wear a seatbelt when you do this.
  • Love change; it happens here at the speed of light …. Maybe faster, but we have been unable to measure it because it is going too damn fast.
  • Be proactive; we move too fast to be reactive. Plus, people that are always reacting have a funny look on their face.
“This is not your typical HR job ad,” Whitter said. “It sounds more like an HR role in a Star Wars movie.”
This creative approach to HR is precisely what needs to happen, especially at a firm such as Tesla, he added; “This is a company that is changing the world and expects its HR team to do the same.”
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