“You’re actually firing me?”, he asked with a tinge of astonishment in his voice.
“Yes…when we adopted a flexible work environment you and I agreed to set of metrics I would use to measure your performance,” I explained. “You chose not to do the work needed to meet any of those metrics.”
His response confirmed my decision, “You were serious about that?”
The move by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to require employees to work on-site has drawn an avalanche of criticism. My initial reaction was one of disbelief: how could a company whose very products enable mobility, communication and collaboration require employees — its most important asset – to be tethered to their desks?
I initially discounted the rationale presented by Yahoo as corporate side-stepping. Employees working in the office together will build culture and morale, Yahoo contended. It will inspire creativity and innovation, they reasoned.
Then, I started to get a more comprehensive picture of what Mayer inherited at Yahoo. There are employees with work-at-home arrangements who are running their own start-up on the side. Entire floors empty because multiple staffers elected to take the afternoon off.
Yahoo is broken and on the precipice of irrelevance. Mayer needs to enforce dramatic change, and a mass firing of deadbeats and underperformers simply isn’t feasible at this time. It would be too disruptive to the operations of the business.
Kudos to Mayer for making a tough decision that she believes is in the best interests of Yahoo, its customers, its partners and its shareholders. The CEO job is not a popularity contest and Mayer has demonstrated she has the fortitude to drive success.
At Strategic Communications Group (Strategic), we embrace and encourage all employees to take advantage of our flexible work environment. My view is that work/life balance is paramount to the delivery of innovative and responsive service to our clients.
Yet, this flexibility comes with responsibility and accountability. I have to be clear on my expectations, yet if a colleague of mine fails to live up to their promise then the decision to separate becomes self-evident.
Yes…I am serious about that.