Tesla Motors – Growing Rapidly and Strategically

March 9, 2015 | Katie Kazmierczak | HCI
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Tesla Motors is on the move. According to Boryana Dineva, Head of HRIS, Operations and Data Analytics, the company has grown almost 1700% since her arrival in 2011.

“We’re continuing to grow,” Dineva said at Human Capital Institute’s 2015 Workforce Planning and Talent Strategy Conference held in Dallas, TX, February 23-25.  

During her presentation, “The Tesla Motors Story: Workforce Analytics in a Rapid Growth Environment,” Dineva revealed that the company embraces a startup mentality.

She said they are not profitable yet – they have no budget for HR analytics – but they are resourceful and efficient.

“We just have to make it work,” she said.

One way they are building a strong foundation is through the hiring of high-quality talent.

With locations around the world, Tesla not only adjusts their hiring process by country – to ensure they are in line with local hiring practices – but they have specific hiring strategies for each position.

She emphasized that even though they are a fast-growing organization, they take each hiring decision into careful consideration.

“You need to wait until you find the right person,” she said.

She said their referral program has seen extraordinary results.

“The referral program is the most amazing thing that can happen to strategic workforce planning – if you care about performance,” Dineva said.

Through data accumulated via their referral program, she said they have found how being referred or being the referrer impacts a person’s decision to stay at a job. She also said it is as though referrers do a culture-fit screen for the company, so they continuously ask their top-rated talent to refer. 

“A players refer A players,” she said, adding that companies should give their top talent whatever they want in return for a referral. “It’s priceless what they are doing. They are helping you build the company.”

Dineva gave an overview of Tesla’s approach to some other essential elements of workforce planning and analytics, including organizational design. For instance, they are careful not to analyze engineers the same way they do manufacturers.

In terms of measuring productivity, she said data can be pretty straightforward for manufacturing or sales, but in IT, HR, and legal, it’s difficult to have KPIs that are measureable.

“But we did it,” she said. “We get together, we come up with [various] KPIs or metrics for productivity.  We keep checking, and that’s part of our strategic workforce planning.”

They also focus on promoting a healthy company culture overall.

“What does culture have to do with workforce planning or analytics? Well, it has everything to do with it,” she said. 


Katie Kazmierczak is a media professional and freelance writer with experience in journalism and corporate communications. You can connect with her on Twitter @Oh_Katie or on Instagram @KatieTheAuthor.