Our very own Tom Tang, chief people officer for May Mobility, made Insider’s list of autonomous vehicle (AV) industry Power Players, receiving recognition as an innovator and essential executive.
During his tenure at May, he has overseen a massive growth in our employee base, helped enhance and drive our culture, and embedded important priorities and processes, such as those for Pay-for-Performance Compensation and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging. We’re thrilled that Insider sees what we see, and asked Tom some questions about how he’s leaving his mark at May and in the broader AV space.
How does it feel to be named among the most powerful players in the AV space?
I feel very humbled! It’s an honor to be included and recognized alongside so many accomplished leaders in the industry.
Your role isn’t specific to the AV industry, yet it’s no less integral to our success. Can you help explain how talent and culture are key to ensuring the long-term success of May?
At May, our cars drive themselves but it’s our people who help propel us forward in the pursuit of our mission to transform cities through autonomous technology. As the race to deploy AVs at scale intensifies, so too does the competition for top talent and that’s where we believe our unique culture positions us for success. People join May because they want to have a real world impact. We’re building a better AV technology that works in the real world, and employees get to see how their contributions make a difference in the communities where we live and work. We also welcome and embrace those who represent the vibrancy of the cities where we operate. Our people are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work, and our workplaces (both on-site and virtual) are designed to foster belonging, connection and fun!
How do you hope to leave your mark on our company and industry?
For me, May’s brand promise of “unlocking greater human potential” goes beyond just our customers and riders. It’s also a key part of the employee experience here. When someone joins us, I want them to know that we see their potential and believe they can do great things. We take the time to invest in their growth and development. We strive to provide them with a truly great manager. We want them to bring their own personal magic and passion, and we believe that—so long as the role allows for it—they can be successful from anywhere: onsite, remote or a hybrid of the two. When that same person leaves May, I want them to feel appreciated and to know that we are grateful for their contributions and impact. Most importantly, I want them to believe that their time at May was time well spent, and that we are proud of them and what they will go on to accomplish as a May alum.
Tom Tang enjoys lunch with colleagues at May Mobility’s headquarters.
Our employee base has tripled in your first 18 months. How would you say that’s affecting the culture and how is your team helping the company adjust to the boom?
It’s been incredible to see how quickly we’ve grown in such a short amount of time, and how it’s had a positive effect on our culture and on our teams! By adding more people, we have been able to accelerate our rate of progress while distributing the workload better so people can achieve improved work-life-balance. At my last company, we experienced 20x full-time employee (FTE) growth in 3 years and I learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way, like the importance of investing early in programs such as Onboarding and Learning & Development. At May, we see our new hires bringing in a ton of valuable experience to their roles and to their teams; so it’s equally important for us to ensure that they are able to ramp up quickly, and that we are able to help capture valuable institutional knowledge and then pass that along to others.
You’ve said before that you aim to embed diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEI&B) into everything we do. What are a few of the strategies and tactics you’re using to that end?
When it comes to DEI&B, I often see companies focus on Diversity first, recruiting for diverse representation with an emphasis on junior roles that are seen as “easier” and help with the numbers that get reported out. I prefer doing the opposite because I don’t believe “filling a leaky bucket” is a sustainable approach, nor do I believe people are likely to join an organization if they don’t see themselves reflected within the leadership team first.
At May, we gave ourselves a good hard look in the mirror and prioritized differently. We focus on building: Equity in terms of our equitable compensation philosophy and our calibrated performance management processes; Inclusion by designing and leading an inclusive meetings framework; and a sense of Belonging for everyone here today with communities like our MayID employee resource group. In doing so, we help ensure that each new person who joins can do so knowing the diversity that they bring will be celebrated, recognized and supported.
What would you say to people considering careers in the AV space? To people considering careers at May?
I think the engineering effort behind autonomous vehicles is the moonshot of our generation, which makes it such an exciting industry to be in. For anyone considering a career in the AV space, I highly recommend it! And there are so many important roles to play, both technical and non-technical. For example, right now May is looking for people to join the following teams: Autonomy, Business Development, Customer Operations, Finance, Hardware, Marketing, Product, Software, and Vehicle Engineering/Operations. Needless to say, we look forward to hearing from you!
Interested in a career at May? See how you can leave your mark on the AV industry on our careers page.