Google Gives Workers $1000 Cash to Keep Facebook at Bay

Will it work?

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Christmas is coming early for Google's 23,000+ employees. According to Business Insider and other reports, the Silicon Valley giant is giving every employee a $1,000 holiday bonus and a 10% raise raise for 2011. The move is a sign of the company's impressive fiscal strength and of the pressures on Google (namely from Facebook) to lure and keep the world's top engineering talent. Here's what tech writers are saying about the newly-announced pay dirt:

  • Reflects Very Well on the Company, writes Henry Blodget at Business Insider:
First it suggests that Google is still an awesome place to work. Given that employee retention has been a problem, it also suggests that Google is now going the extra mile to keep its employees happy.  Lastly, it suggests that the company's financial performance continues to be very strong.
the Internet giant has over 23,000 employees, and only the cash bonus will cost it $23 million (plus taxes), while the raise might cost Google around $1 billion a year. Judging by Google’s impressive earnings report from October, however, Google can definitely afford such a move. With the economy still being weakened by the recession, Google obviously wants to show off its strength and make sure its workforce has a hard time finding greener pastures elsewhere.
  • It's All About the Facebook Threat, writes Lucian Parfeni at Softpedia:
Facebook has been poaching quite a bit of Google talent and can entice employees with stock options which could be worth a lot of money when Facebook finally goes for an IPO.
The unexpected windfall incentive is great for rewarding previous work. It doesn't inspire other people to come and work for you, unless they happen to believe you'll do it again. There's no reason to believe that here, and it's a pretty nebulous hope that this will arrest the brain drain from Google to Facebook and others too. This is a smart move to reward, recognise, motivate and incetivise the existing Googlers, but it only does what it does - it's not a panacea for any problems Google has hiring new people.
  • They Needed to Do This, writes John Cook at Tech Flash:
Google has a major engineering center in Seattle and Kirkland, employing over 500 people ... The battle for talent in the region has heated up in recent months as big Internet companies such as Facebook,, Hulu and Zynga have set up shop.

The amount is a lot from a macro perspective, adding around $1 billion annually to Google's bottom line, but it 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 article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.