Tesla’s mission is to bring about a revolution in zero-emission transportation, and it is also a pioneer in the use of renewable energy and other eco-friendly business practices. Now the Silicon Valley trendsetter seeks to earn even more good karma, by becoming a leading employer of America’s military veterans.
“We want to be known throughout the veteran community as a great place to work,” Arnnon Geshuri, Tesla’s VP of Human Resources, told the San José Mercury News. “Veterans are a great source of talent for Tesla, and we’re going after it.”
Tesla’s workforce is growing rapidly as it expands production of the Model S and prepares to launch the Model X. About 300 of the company’s current 6,000 employees are veterans, and an additional 600 veteran candidates are in the hiring pipeline, according to Geshuri.
“Tesla has risen to the top” among companies known for creating veteran-friendly workplaces, said Ted Daywalt, CEO of VetJobs, a military job board. “They have a good reputation. They hire veterans who can talk to other veterans. There is a language in the military, and having someone who can speak the lingo is important.”
Veterans are a natural fit for Tesla, not only because of their technical skills, but because they’re used to working as part of a team. Greg Reichow, Tesla’s VP of Production, says the company finds veterans make great employees who share the company’s sense of mission. “They know how to lead teams, focus teams and function on teams, and they have incredible integrity and discipline.”
Tesla not only aggressively recruits veterans, but also makes a policy of being accommodating about deployments. “I spent two years living in barracks repairing equipment and supporting returning units,” said Tesla technician and National Guard member Megan Gates. “But Tesla kept in touch with me, and the company made the transition back super easy. I came straight back to work.”
“I give it 100 percent, whether I’m in uniform in the Guard or in jeans and a T-shirt at Tesla,” said Gates. “I give Tesla my schedule and say ‘these are the weekends I need to leave,’ and they work around that schedule. Everyone here is so supportive.”
“HR was phenomenal with my deployment,” said Jason Deming, a vehicle test technician who served in Afghanistan with the Air National Guard. “I can serve my country and save lives but also work on the forefront of technology.”