According to published reports, the same Yahoo CEO who ended telecommuting at the dysfunctional technology company, has now installed an employee ranking system that most experts say is the worst thing that could happen to an innovation-driven culture.
Taking a page out of ‘Neutron’ Jack Welch’s 1980s playback, Mayer is forcing all employees to be ranked on a bell curve. Then, based upon the results, she’ll promote the top performers, fire the bottom-feeders and send a wake-up call to the mediocre Yahooligans (as they call themselves).
Employee rankings worked a generation or so ago. But, that was before competition for talent became white hot. It was also decades before enlightened management saw the benefit of investing in training programs and providing the best possible workplace culture. FYI, I know of what I speak. Peppercomm is this year’s top NYC workplace, according to Crain’s New York Business.
Mayer is famous for her data-driven, 24×7, the devil-is-in-the-details management style. It’s what initially made her successful at Google. And, until now, it’s delighted Yahoo’s Wall Street watchers.
But, she’s stumbled badly as well. In addition to the telecommuting massacre, which was a thinly-disguised excuse to downsize, Mayer also vamped for a lengthy, self-congratulatory spread in Vogue. And, her recent re-branding of Yahoo and Yahoo Mail was savaged by critics everywhere.
Data-driven human resources programs may work in certain cultures. But, they penalize the best and the brightest, who see the rankings and evaluations as purely subjective and politically-motivated.
I predict there will be an even greater brain drain at Y! as a direct result of this data-driven directive. Mayer’s brain may function best when it’s flooded with mathematical equations. And that, in turn, MIGHT result in some great user experiences.
But, it’s a Richie Incognito approach to team-building that will only alienate the superior employees Mayer desperately needs to help her prevent the R.M.S. Yahoo from striking a berg, and sinking beneath the waves once and for all.
And a tip o’ Repman’s official Moe’s Southwest Grill sombrero to Michael Dresner, CEO, Brand² Squared Licensing, A Division of Peppercomm, for suggesting this post.