Google's 4-year itch

For several years, Google has been hiring at hyperspeed, but the search engine giant could see an exodus of pre-IPO millionaires in August. Under Google's rules, employees' pre-IPO stock options partially vest beginning one year after their hire date and are fully vested after four years, which will be in four months for hundreds of employees.

"Senior executives have viewed this problem as a significant risk and have been taking aggressive and innovative steps to retain early employees, including mixing in other forms of stock compensation and rolling out a first-of-its-kind in-house market this month that will enable workers to sell even 'underwater' options," according to a report in the San Jose Mercury News. "Google also is working on softer issues, from conducting an annual 'happiness' survey to outright coddling of critical talent."

The article goes on to say: "Still, Google executives know some people will leave anyway. Some will move on because their jobs no longer seem challenging. Others will quit to start a restaurant, found a nonprofit or build a dream house."

So far, only a handful of pre-IPO millionaires have left, says Stacy Savides Sullivan, Google's chief culture officer. Sullivan could leave too, but she told the Mercury News: "I know this sounds corny, but I still have fun here."

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