By now, many professionals are aware of CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to end workplace flexibility at Yahoo. Several business experts have given their opinion on the decision by the technology company’s top management. Some agreed with her actions, saying it was necessary to turn around a failing company. Others have said her actions don’t align with positive business practices of today.
CEO is no easy role. Turning a company around is no easy task. Time will tell if Mayer’s decision will help Yahoo or hurt the progress she’s helped the company achieve. Instead of deciding whether her decision was the right one, I’d like to offer Yahoo’s CEO another way to handle the situation. In my opinion, blanket decisions are never the best way to address employee performance issues. The email blast sent from Yahoo’s HR chief is not usually an effective way to deal with a sensitive people issue.
Maybe Mayer wants people to leave without firing them. Maybe she wants to figure out who’s working and who’s not. Maybe she wants to change Yahoo’s current culture. There aren’t a lot of details so we can speculate a long-list of reasons. However, whatever her reason was, this people decision could have been handled better.
Here are three actions Mayer and her team could have made (and can still make) that will help Yahoo address its remote work problem, making the company more productive and successful. These three steps show that businesses can improve without ignoring the needs and wants of your employees.
Many ex-Yahoo employees have come to Mayer’s defense, saying that the company’s remote work policy was too lax. Well, if it’s too lax, management should give it more structure. Company policies should not be set in stone. Make an effort to review your policies on an annual basis. When they are no longer serving their purpose or being ignored by employees, it’s up to the people in charge to update policies and announce the changes through several forms of communication. Some examples include an internal newsletter, a staff meeting or a manager-direct report meeting.
Identify Top and Weak Performers
All employees should not be treated equally. Your top performers should never be lumped into the same group as your weak ones. So one-size-fits-all solutions, like the one that Yahoo’s HR chief sent out, to address poor performers can have a pretty negative effect on the morale of your employees who are always delivering stellar work. Managers, don’t punish your good employees because of the behavior from your bad ones. Instead, look at each employee’s performance individually. If they aren’t doing their work, they don’t get to work remotely—simple as that. An underperformer doesn’t deserve the same perks as one who always overachieves.
Reading the different reports on the situation at Yahoo leads me to believe the company has an accountability problem. How were employees allowed to begin start-up companies while working remotely? Why were people not making their deadlines or delivering on their goals? This is not just an employee performance issue; it’s also a management issue. Leaders do not have to be micromanagers, but they are responsible for ensuring that their direct reports are doing their jobs. Weekly phone calls or meetings to review progress on different projects are integral for keeping your employees engaged and productive. Weekly meetings are also a great way to share your appreciation for your employees, so they won’t feel that their efforts aren’t important, leading them to start a new business on their own.
If you’re having employee performance problems at your organization and need help finding a solution, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.
Photo Source: Jolieodell