Read an internal Tesla employee survey from 2018, in which employees called Elon Musk an “unapproachable tyrant” who fires people “because of his ego.”

A 2018 internal Tesla employee survey conducted during a difficult time for the company revealed that employees expressed concerns about Elon Musk’s leadership.

The survey, which was obtained and published in full for the first time, was cited last week in a lawsuit against the billionaire over a compensation package of more than $50 billion.

Gabriele Toledano, a former personnel director at Tesla, sent the survey to Tesla board member Ira Ehrenpreis, who chairs the company’s compensation committee, on March 2, 2018. In her email, Toledano outlined two major issues employees said they faced: compensation concerns; and concerns about driving at Tesla, particularly about Elon Musk.

“Review the results of the employee survey,” Toledano said in the email. “Not good on corporate, esp from vice presidents, not good on leadership, mostly around Elon.”

In the survey of Tesla professionals, managers, CEOs, and managers, a total of 65% of those surveyed said they trust Musk and the executive team to “balance employee interests with those of the company.” Sixty-seven percent said they believe Musk and his managers “care about the company’s employees.”

A total of 58% of employees at the professional level or higher said they felt “fairly compensated” for their work.

Read an internal Tesla employee survey from 2018, in which employees called Elon Musk an "unapproachable tyrant" who fires people "because of his ego."
A screenshot from Tesla’s 2018 employee survey, showing favorability responses from Tesla professionals, managers, executives, and directors. 

A selection of responses about Elon Musk and his executive team showed employees complaining about his company’s culture, leadership, approachability and networking, work schedules, and launch.

“Tesla are extremely talented people with a fierce drive who truly believe in the company’s vision and continue to hope for its success,” one survey worker wrote. “Elon is a technical leader of the first order, yet he is widely viewed as an unapproachable tyrant who devalues ​​employee contributions, and may fire them on a whim… We treat people, the basic unit of a company, like any other expendable resource.” “.

The worker added that Tesla “failed to distinguish between technical leadership and people leadership,” calling it “an ugly part of Tesla culture.”

Read an internal Tesla employee survey from 2018, in which employees called Elon Musk an "unapproachable tyrant" who fires people "because of his ego."
A screenshot of a page from Tesla’s 2018 employee survey, showing comments about “Elon and Exec Staff” 

Another worker wrote that they felt “at any time I or anyone around me would be kicked out,” saying they did not plan to stay any longer in a “highly toxic environment.”

One worker said Musk’s “ego” needed to change, while another said people were “bullied by Elon into making unrealistic commitments.”

In 2018, at the time the survey was conducted, Tesla was struggling to scale production of its Model 3. Years later, Musk said Tesla was just weeks away from bankruptcy during the ordeal.

“Witnessing the crushing hit of the ramp and the team’s frustration with the Model 3 battery was very frustrating,” one of the workers wrote in the survey. “More than that, the blame placed by Elon and the exec team on lower-level engineers without having any accountability to poor level design review, unrealistic scheduling, and inadequate resource allocation has led me to lose all faith in Elon as the leader of this company.” “.

Despite the many negative comments about Musk, 98% of the employees surveyed indicated that they were “proud of the impact Tesla is making in the world.”

The survey was cited last week during the first day of testimony in a lawsuit a Tesla shareholder filed against Musk over his pay package, which alleged Musk and the automaker breached their fiduciary duties by awarding damages “beyond the limits of reasonable judgment.”

The email was cited as possible evidence that the Tesla CEO was a “threatening” figure to Tesla employees, including the executives responsible for approving his salary package.

Last week, Ehrenpress agreed in court that the quotes are “in keeping with the long history of how some people feel.”

The billionaire has always been known for his strength. At Tesla and SpaceX, he pursued lofty goals and was even known to work up to 120 hours a week and sleep on the factory floor. The former executives have said the billionaire can be a difficult person to work for, prone to temper tantrums and even instances of furious firings by employees — allegations he has vehemently denied, calling them “false” on Twitter and saying he gives them “clear and honest.” Staff feedback.

Most recently, Musk fired several Twitter employees last week after engineers criticized Musk’s technical knowledge.

Read the full survey:


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