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Yahoo is Blowing It and Here’s Why

By Kim Shepherd, CEO, Decision Toolbox

You’ve probably heard the news that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is changing company policy to require all virtual employees to relocate to company offices.  Yahoo’s performance hasn’t been quite up to par lately, so it seems Ms. Mayer is trying to shake things up in effort to drive Yahoo around the corner to success.  In our opinion, she’s blowing it, and here’s why.

Cloud Culture Benefits

Decision Toolbox has been a 100% virtual workplace since 2003. Being pioneers in this space, we have learned firsthand that there is very much more to a virtual workplace than having employees work from home offices. We feel so strongly about this that we’ve adopted the term “cloud culture” to describe our own unique virtual environment.  To have a successful cloud culture, a virtual environment must maintain the same cornerstones that are essential for success in a traditional workplace – culture, performance, appreciation, continuous improvement – while allowing employees the flexibility and freedom to “be all they can be.”

Top business reasons for transitioning to the cloud include:

  • Cost savings – rather than paying for sticks and bricks, cloud culture companies can invest in the best people, tools and technology for business success
  • Scalability – cloud culture organizations can grow quickly and turn on a dime — as more talent is added, there is no need for more office space, furniture, equipment. etc.
  • Quality – in a cloud culture company, there is nothing for under performers to hide behind – there are no appearances to create distraction — it’s all about the numbers, baby!

Game Changers

Yahoo has a mixture of virtual employees and those who work in the office environment.  Typically a virtual environment appeals to the high performers in a company – the game changers.  Game changers are a different type of employee – they typically have an ownership mentality, approach their job with passion and the desire to solve problems, and drive business results, not just punch a time clock.   We wonder whether Ms. Mayer based this decision on a thorough evaluation of the performance of virtual workers vs. office workers, or whether she’s falling into the same trap that many old school businesses have…”If I can’t see a rear end in a chair, I don’t trust my employee to do his job.”  This type of mentality is surefire disaster for retaining game changers, who are the very ones desperately needed to catapult a company towards success.

What Yahoo is doing is the complete OPPOSITE of what they should be doing.  By going to a HIGHER percentage of virtual employees, they can save money, identify and weed out under-performers, and, since working virtually appeals to the most motivated type of employee – attract even more game changers to the company.

Corrective Measures

Instead of revoking the remote office policy, Yahoo should be looking at other reasons why performance hasn’t been stellar.  Is the company culture suffering?  Are employees empowered to make suggestions and changes that are needed to drive success?  Has a thorough evaluation of the company’s KPIs (performance, productivity and profit) revealed any A-HA!’s that might be corrected?

It will be interesting to see how this June compliance deadline affects the Yahoo workforce.  Unfortunately for Yahoo, it may find itself a bulls-eye target for sourcing away valuable game changers.

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2 Responses to “Yahoo is Blowing It and Here’s Why”

  1. February 27, 2013 at 3:40 pm, NC said:

    I couldn’t agree more. Well written! Like Kim said earlier… if you’re building airplanes you need a hangar. If you’re building internet… you need internet!


  2. February 27, 2013 at 6:49 pm, dtkgraham said:

    Thanks for weighing in, NC. It’s a wonderful example of irony, no? One thing is for certain – it’s won Yahoo a whole lot of publicity.


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