Challenger Survey: Most Companies Not Following Yahoo, Best Buy

When struggling big box retailer Best Buy followed in the footsteps of Yahoo! Inc. by altering its telecommuting policies for employees, some undoubtedly concluded that there would soon be a flood of companies doing the same.  However, a new survey indicates that Best Buy may be in the minority, with the overwhelming percentage of companies planning to maintain their telecommuting policies.

According to the survey, 80 percent of the 120 human resources executives polled said their companies currently offer some form of telecommuting option to employees with 97 percent of them saying there are no plans to eliminate that benefit.

The survey was conducted by global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. in the days following Yahoo’s widely reported and controversial plan to bring work-at-home employees back to the office.

“When major companies like Yahoo and Best Buy make notable policy changes, there is no doubt that other employers will take notice and some may even re-evaluate their policies.  However, it would be misguided to assume that other companies will follow blindly without considering their own unique circumstances,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Get the full report here.


Monday Bulletin: Telecommuting Turnaround at Yahoo; Sequestration Cuts To Come

Telecommuting Trend Turnaround at Yahoo!

At a time when many Silicon Valley tech firms are battling each other to attract and retain the best talent, the decision by Yahoo! Inc. to end its telecommuting program may prove to be shortsighted. The move, which was widely reported this morning after a leaked memo made its way to the press, stems from the belief that “speed and quality are sacrificed when people work from home.” Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer is determined to shake things up in an effort to turn the struggling company’s fortunes around. “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together,” the memo reads. According to John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., there is some wisdom behind the memo’s sentiment. “Yahoo is definitely in a fourth-and-long situation, so it needs to try new tactics. There is a collaborative advantage to having all of your employees in the office. However, there is also an advantage in having the best and brightest tech workers on your payroll. The question is whether this move will result in an exodus among the company’s top talent,” he said. Could the move to end telecommuting backfire for Yahoo? What are the pros and cons of telecommuting programs? Will other companies follow Yahoo’s lead and end or rein in telecommuting options?

Sequester Could Send Government Job Cuts Soaring

Will failure to reach a budget deal by March 1 ignite another round of government job cuts? Automatic spending cuts totaling $85 billion are scheduled to take effect Friday and will impact federal agencies, including transportation and defense, as well as cut aid to states. Instead of finding a solution, Democrats and Republicans are arguing the overall impact of the cutbacks, with Democrats taking a “sky-is-falling” stance while Republicans argue that the cuts, which amount to less than 3% of the $3.5 trillion budget, will barely be felt by most Americans. The truth, as usual, probably lies somewhere in the middle. “The thousands of federal workers forced to take unpaid furloughs will certainly feel the pinch in their annual budgets. Meanwhile, state governments will have to pass along the cuts by eliminating jobs. In Missouri, for example, the automatic budget cuts will slash about $12 million in school funding and will put about 160 teaching jobs at risk. That may not seem like a lot of jobs in the big scheme of things, but it’s everything to the 160 teachers who could ultimately find themselves unemployed due to political gamesmanship,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. Last year, announced job cuts by government agencies fell to 19,128 after reaching 142,503 in 2011 and 183,064 in 2010. What will be the overall economic impact of automatic budget cuts that kick in March 1? Will automatic budget cuts send government job cuts to 2010-2011 levels? Are consumers and businesses spending enough now to hold up the economy if government spending declines?

99 CEOs Leave Their Posts In May

For the third consecutive month, turnover among the nation’s chief executive officers declined from last year’s pace, as 99 CEOs announced their departures in May compared to 103 in May 2011, according to the latest report on CEO turnover released Wednesday by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

While the number of CEO departures was lower than a year ago, the May total was up slightly from April, when 90 CEOs left their posts.  Overall, a total of 510 CEO departures have been recorded so far this year, virtually even with the 493 CEO exits tracked the first five months of 2011.

Both health care and the government/non-profit sectors saw the heaviest CEO turnover in May with 19 changes each. The health sector leads all industries in CEO turnover for the year with 99, 39 percent more than the 71 health sector CEO changes through May of last year.

Full Report.

Yahoo’s CEO Leaves Amid Resume Fraud

Yahoo’s CEO Resigns Amid Resume Fraud    

Yahoo’s third CEO in three years Scott Thompson stepped down from his post 10 days after Daniel Loeb, head of Yahoo’s largest shareholder Third Point LLC, accused him of padding his resume with fake or exaggerated credentials, specifically a degree in computer science. Daniel Loeb now holds three board seats, greatly influencing the direction the struggling internet company may take in the future. While Yahoo declined to give a reason for Thompson’s departure, the recent buzz surrounding Thompson’s resume may have contributed to his exit. Thompson’s exit will be counted in addition to four other CEOs who left amid scandal through April of this year. Nine other CEOs were removed from their positions, generally due to strategic business decisions by the board or leadership styles that did not fit the company. Three more CEOs were ousted by the company due to internal investigations or financial inaccuracies and misconduct. The last instance of resume fraud tracked by Challenger occurred in March 2009, when Patrick Avery, former President and COO of chemical-miner Intrepid Potash Inc., claimed to have earned a bachelors degree from Colorado University and a masters from Loyola Marymount. Although he attended and took courses at both institutions, he never received the degrees. At the time, the company expected to use him as an operations consultant.


(in no particular order)

Education: Listing degree from a school never attended; inflating grade point average and graduate honors; citing degree from online, non-accredited “education” institution.

Job title: Making up a title or boosting actual title by one or more levels in hopes of obtaining better salary offers.

Compensation: Inflating current or previous salary and benefits to secure more money from prospective employer.

Reason for leaving: Saying it was a mass downsizing when the discharge was based on performance; asked to leave, but saying you quit; underplaying or completely hiding poor relationships with superiors.

Accomplishments: Overstating one’s contributions to a team project or company performance; claiming to have received special recognition; exaggerating level of participation in an important aspect of the business.