As readers of the BRANDEblog might remember, almost exactly two years ago I started worrying about Google. Though the employer brand was hot from desirability POV, the stock was tanking, free food was history and their new CFO was a Six Sigma black belt.
Now the stock is almost double what it was, and last week Eric Schmidt announced raises AND bonuses all around for it’s 23,000 employees.
But what’s behind the seemingly good news is the hidden truth—from a talent perspective, Google isn’t cool.
This from CNN: “ it probably isn't enough to keep Google's brightest and most entrepreneurial employees from eyeing the lucrative stock options that await them at riskier startups.”
This from the WSJ: “Google Inc. is fighting off Facebook Inc. and other fast-growing Internet firms that are poaching its staff, a reversal for a company that has long been one of Silicon Valley's hottest job destinations. “
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are hot- a.k.a. not public, and talented techies want challenge- a.k.a pre- IPO stock.
Google has become the stable choice for Silicon Valley hotshots. And that stability has a whopping price tag.
According to last week’s Tech Crunch “We’ve confirmed today that a staff engineer at Google being heavily romanced by Facebook was offered a jaw dropping $3.5 million in restricted stock by Google (this means Google is handing over stock worth $3.5 million based on its value today, and that stock will vest over time). He quite wisely accepted Google’s counter offer. Facebook lost this one.”
From a distance, I watch and wonder about the durability of Google’s employer brand- maybe it’s time to re-build the brand architecture.
Somewhere Bill Gates must be laughing.