Marissa Mayer Says Yahoo’s Focus On Talent Is Paying Off — Workforce Declined 19%, But Top Talent Attrition Has Halved

Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer said today that the company is nearing the end of its first “sprint” during her tenure as CEO. That sprint, she said, was focused on “getting people to believe in Yahoo” and making the company an appealing place to work.

Mayer offered a number of comparisons to illustrate that things do seem to be turning around when it comes to talent. She said that the number of résumés that Yahoo received tripled over the course of the quarter. She also said that the attrition rate among “top talent” is half what it was a year ago.

And she pointed to “boomerangs” — Yahoo employees who leave and then return quickly. Fourteen percent of Yahoo’s hires in the past quarter were boomerangs, Mayer said.

On the other hand, it may not be hard to look good in comparison to last year’s numbers, because it sounds like the company lost a lot of people (many of them presumably due to layoffs). The company ended the quarter with 11,300 employees, down 19 percent from the same period last year.

Now that the first sprint is over, Mayer said the company’s focus is shifting. Next up? “Building beautiful products and executing well against our business strategy.” If Yahoo builds beautiful products, it will start seeing more engagement, which will lead to revenue and eventually growth, she said.

Mayer made her comments during the conference call discussing the company’s first-quarter earnings report, which saw flat revenue but higher-than-expected earnings per share.