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Yahoo Interim CEO & Senior Leaders Face Uphill Battle In Gaining Employee Trust

Another CEO out at Yahoo. After just four months on the job, Scott Thompson left his post as CEO this past Sunday following an embellished resume scandal.  One Yahoo employee noted just days before Thompson officially left: “The constant changes in the organization structure and leadership team were a distraction and drain. Just when you would gain some momentum, you would reset. One step backward to only take one step forward.”

Ross Levinsohn has been appointed Interim CEO at Yahoo, as the company’s Board of Directors once again head back to the drawing board to determine who will fill the position permanently. Whoever it is will have a tough road ahead as employees have shown to have little faith in how the past few top executives have led the company.

In Thompson’s few months on the job, he held a 48% approval rating among employees, while his predecessor Carol Bartz holds the highest cumulative CEO rating among Yahoo CEOs of late, with her 54% approval. Interim CEO Timothy Morse received 42% approval, and Yahoo co-founder and former CEO Jerry Yang held 43% approval.¹ For perspective, the average CEO rating on Glassdoor is 62% approval.

Glassdoor, a social jobs and career community, takes a deeper look into Yahoo’s CEO and company ratings over the past four years to see how employee sentiment at this tech giant has changed by quarter.

Yahoo CEOs Have Lost Traction Over Time

As Yahoo CEO tenure increases, it seems that approval among employees falls. Jerry Yang held an 81% approval in Q1 2008, but left the company with a 24% approval, just three quarters later. When Carol Bartz took over, she started with a 91% approval, before plummeting to 33% approval in Q3 2011. And while it was still too soon to tell, Scott Thompson began his tenure with 85% approval before it fell to a 31% approval as of yesterday.

Employee Morale Stays Fairly Steady

But despite all the changes at the top of Yahoo’s corporate ladder, employee morale remains fairly steady holding at a 3.4 (OK) rating over the past 18 quarters.²

In addition, when we look at Yahoo’s overall company rating quarter by quarter, it’s interesting to note it has not increased or decreased significantly, receiving a high of 4.3 (Very Satisfied) during Q1 2008, to a low of 2.7 (OK) during Q2 2009. For the most part, when asked about how satisfied employees are overall with their jobs and the company, most employees give the company a 3.1 (OK) rating. Interestingly, this falls right in line with most companies reviewed; out of the more than 160,000 companies reviewed on Glassdoor, the average overall company rating is 3.1.

Recent Yahoo Employee Commentary

So what have Yahoo employees had to say about the company during the days leading to Scott Thompson’s departure? Below are just some of the best reasons to work at Yahoo as of late (the pros) and some of the biggest downsides (the cons) according to employees:

“[Pros] Generally very interesting projects. [Cons] Upper management chaos, contestant bad press.” – Yahoo Employee (location n/a)

“[Pros] Yahoo encourages and fosters new ideas and technologies and rewards employees for creating new stuff. Many great peers to work with. [Cons] Many not so great people to work with. There is a little too much politics in the company. There is a sort of identity crisis for the company – trying to reclaim former glory.” – Yahoo Employee (Sunnyvale, CA)

“[Pros] Great support from colleagues. Technically sound people; so a lot to learn. [Cons] Too much panic situation in upper management. Insecurity in the mind of employees because of frequent lay-offs. Too many stupid decisions taken in too less time and going nowhere even after doing that.” – Yahoo Software QA Engineer (Sunnyvale, CA)

“[Pros] Great people. Great mentorship. Great growth. [Cons] Lesser pay compared to peers in industry. No definite direction. Weak management.” – Yahoo Software Engineer (Bangalore, India)

“[Pros] Opportunity to develop new products in a large scale. [Cons] Classic ‘ivory tower’ behavior by senior management. Senior management believes they know it all and do not seek opinions and advice of their people on the ground. Lacks discipline across the org.” – Yahoo Senior Product Manager (Sunnyvale, CA)

Do you work at Yahoo? Share a company review and tell us about your experience and what advice you would give to senior management.

¹ CEO cumulative ratings based on approved company reviews collected since early 2008. Thompson received 42 company ratings, Bartz received 278 ratings, Morse received 19 ratings and Yang received 178 ratings.

² Company and workplace factor ratings based on a 5-point scale; 1.0=very dissatisfied, 3.0=OK, 5.0=very satisfied.