HR/Corporate Communications 101 – Tesla Edition

HR/Corporate Communications 101 – Tesla Edition

You might have seen this pop up on your radar this past week, but there’s a good chance you didn’t because it was put to bed as soon as it came up! Some news agencies tried to rake up a story on Tesla having a sexual harassment issue in their California plant.

Since the major issue at Uber, and big brand is now a media target for these types of stories. Not that they’re not stories, but the reality is the media consuming public love to see big name companies get killed in the media, while this kind of thing is taking place every day in lesser known companies that news agencies could care less!

So, why didn’t anyone bite on the Tesla story like Uber? Check out this response from the Tesla internal comms team:

“The topics raised in this meeting were followed up directly with those willing to discuss,” a Tesla representative told Business Insider. “We have a no-tolerance policy and have made changes to leadership, policy, and training to continue to improve our work environment.”

“The reason groups like Women in Tesla exist is precisely because we want to provide employees with an outlet to share opinions and feedback in a constructive manner. At Tesla, we regularly host events like the Town Hall, and only someone who is intentionally trying to misconstrue the facts and paint Tesla in a negative light could perceive such meetings as something negative.”

Drop mic. Walk off stage.

Clear, concise and no bullshit. We were made aware of it. We handled it. We’ll continue to handle it in a similar fashion if it comes up.

I don’t know if Tesla has a sexual harassment problem or not. What I know is they don’t have a communications department problem, those folks know what they’re doing, especially in light of recent situations at other high profile Silicon Valley companies.

A communication like this doesn’t lead one to believe there’s an ongoing problem. It’s designed to make you feel like some folks in charge know what’s going on and it was taken care of. That should be your goal in designing and developing HR communications for issues of this nature. The trick is you have to actually have taken care of it!

Do your internal and external communications sound like this? Yeah, you probably got in the ‘zero-tolerance’ language and we’ll continue to work to get better, but are you willing to call out your naysayers!? Most aren’t for the simple fact is they don’t really know for sure if there isn’t something going on, which leads me to believe Tesla has probably gone the extra mile to eliminate those responsible and make sure whatever happened won’t happen again.

Great HR communications can have a great impact on employees, shareholders, and customers. Don’t take them lightly.