Yahoo: A Stealth Layoff Policy?

A final thought on Yahoo’s show-up-or-quit policy, and then it’s back to technology, I promise.

It's been incredibly busy around here this week - really, all this quarter. And I promise to return to these pages, and to technology, which is mostly what I do, shortly. But I must conclude the recent series on the Yahoo Hates Mobility thread I've been writing about lately with one additional thought.

And that is: perhaps what's going on here is in fact what we might call a "stealth layoff" - a way to cut staff without actually handing anyone a pink slip. Or a way to find out who the true believers are, while telling everyone else that they need to convert to such or quit. Whereas regular layoffs are expensive, someone quitting costs the company nothing, other than perhaps handing a valuable asset to the competition, but such comes with the territory in economies such as ours. Nonetheless, this could be a brilliant, if Machiavellian, move on the part of Yahoo's HR department - from where, after all, the policy was launched.

Assuming this is the case, perhaps Yahoo doesn't hate mobility after all. Perhaps they're just regrouping, as might be inferred from the "right now" part of their statement on this topic, and will return to embracing mobility at some point in the future - and perhaps with a vengeance. They'd better, because mobility is the future for them, as it is for all of us, whether they like it or not. And, again if this is the case, I will eventually owe them an apology for jumping to conclusions, which is, after all, what those of us in the analyst community often do without all that much provocation. Yahoo might, in fact, be pioneering a novel and likely very-cost-effective means of reducing headcount. Yes, indeed; let's give them that, and move on.

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