Yahoo CEO proving her critics wrong

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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who not surprisingly heard loudly from both admirers and critics with her February decision to reign in the company’s home-based workers, seems to be winning over those who really count – her employees.

In a survey just released by Glassdoor, a job site with anonymous employee reviews from thousands of companies, Mayer garnered an average employee satisfaction rating of 3.7 out of 5 in three of the four quarters that she has led Yahoo.

That’s not the highest rating in the Internet world (Google, where Mayer was employee No. 20) has a 4.1 rating. But it shows that employees are endorsing their CEO’s moves to turn Yahoo around.

There are lessons to be learned at Yahoo for any CEO. Mayer was handed a daunting challenge. Yahoo’s revenue has slid from a high of about $7.2 billion in 2008 to just under $5 billion in 2012. But its 2012 fourth quarter was the first increase in revenues in four years.

While some 700 million people visit Yahoo sites daily, the company has languished under two previous CEOs, struggling to compete against the behemoth named Google.

As Yahoo staffers got back to their desks, Mayer sweetened the deal, lengthening maternity leaves and handing out bonuses to parents. She started an all-hands meeting on Fridays, and changed the price of food in Yahoo’s URLs Caf? to absolutely free. Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

Mayer knows well, of course, that while employees may be happier, her job depends on creating happy stockholders. To revive Yahoo in the fast-changing online landscape, Mayer’s biggest move was the $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumbler in May.

Mayer circled in the troops but also added perks and made sure she was there to listen to concerns. Then she completed one of the biggest deals in Yahoo’s history.

Employee reviews quoted a “sense of vision and urgency” for Mayer. At least for now, she seems to be proving her critics wrong.


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