Photo: Marissa Mayer’s Flickr
Most CEOs start earnings calls by crowing about numbers.Marissa Mayer is doing things at Yahoo very differently.
Her first topic of conversation in a call with Wall Street analysts about its fourth-quarter earnings was Yahoo’s people.
Yahoo had become infamous for its bureaucracy. A new system to let employees report bureaucratic obstacles—dubbed PB&J for “Process, Bureaucracy, and Jams”—identified 385 annoyances or barriers in the fourth quarter, she said.
The company’s been able to hire better people and it’s seeing “significantly lower attrition” and a “marked icnrease in the volume and quality of people joining Yahoo.”
After 92% of employees filled out a survey in November, Mayer fulfilled a bet she’d made with them by dressing up as the Yahoo exclamation point with a purple wig.
She pointed to new board member Max Levchin, the cofounder of PayPal; recruiting expert Sandy Gould; and Adam Cahan, who came to Yahoo through a 2011 acquisition but was recently promoted to a new role overseeing mobile products. She praised Cahan’s “entrepreneurial spirit.”
She also mentioned recent talent acquisitions the company had made—Stamped, OnTheAir, and Snip.it.
In conclusion, she said, the fourth quarter was about “establishing and enabling our team.”
A tech company’s talent base isn’t something most Wall Street analysts fit into their models. But Mayer’s sending them a clear message: If you want to understand how she’s running Yahoo, you have to thin about people first.