A Contrarian View of the Yahoo Debate: iTC in Entrepreneur.com
When word spread like wildfire about Yahoo Chief Exec Marissa Mayer’s company memo on a teleworking policy change, it led to all kinds of fury and fed the media circuit for two solid weeks (and counting). Mayer, through an internal memo from her head of HR, announced all telecommuting employees must begin reporting to the office every day beginning in June. Not surprisingly, the memo leaked and quickly hit the social media rounds and blogosphere with people – most who do not work at Yahoo – expressing their disbelief and opinions on the “archaic back step” that had just been instituted.
At first blush and perhaps taken at face value, the announcement may seem misplaced and out of sync with the way many see us headed – to an increasingly mobile way of working. I don’t entirely disagree with that, but the nuances of a move like this are many. These decisions aren’t typically made with the flippancy that many posting comments would have you think. Here’s an interesting news piece offering a Silicon Valley perspective: Yahoo telecommute ban is much ado about nothing.
Through a different lens, removing the emotion and hysteria, there is some validity to a move like this when it comes to shifting the business focus of a large company very quickly. Having experienced similar moves as an HR leader, I offered some thoughts and was included in an Entrepreneur.com piece titled, “4 Reasons Why Telecommuting Is Bad for Business.” Here is an excerpt:
Execution of a new business strategy can only occur when employees collectively understand the direction as well as the work that needs to be done, says Cindy Lubitz, founder and managing director of inTalent Consulting, an Atlanta-based human resources consulting firm.
“Mayer was brought in to save an ailing company,” says Lubitz. “From my experience with similarly sized organizations, I know it’s difficult to get everyone on the same page when they’re scattered — a webinar or conference call can only get you so far. At this stage in Yahoo’s trajectory, it’s time to ensure everyone understands and is in close proximity to the new strategic direction.”
While big change can often be unsettling, it is inevitable. That is the goal for business—to change in regards to growing and adapting to reach new heights. Company chiefs are persistently searching for a means to enhance the organization, keep it competitive, and make it a market leader. Sometimes that requires changing systems, updating policies, or even getting back to the basics.
Still, it is important to bring employees along in the journey of a new strategic direction and create consistent touch points along the way to maintain their buy-in and commitment. When forecasting a new direction, CEOs must set the strategy, communicate with transparency, and keep employees informed of the company’s progress. So as part of this debate, I encourage us to consider and talk about all sides of the story.
Cindy Lubitz is Managing Director of the inTalent Consulting Group