Google’s Secret Retention Tactic: The Bench


Over at Business Insider, there’s an interesting piece on an unusual technique that Google employs to keep its best and brightest from drifting to other companies: Paying them enormous amounts of money to stay on the company’s roster, even if they’re not actively working.

Valued Google employees may “sit on the bench” for months or even years, drawing a salary and letting their Google stock vest, as they wait for a new project. “It helps keep people off the market,” a former Google executive told the website. “It helps keep the institutional knowledge if you need them back for any reason.”

Of course, Google doesn’t always succeed in retaining its key people—especially if those people want to start their own firm, or head up another tech giant. But since it has more than enough money to pay top people to stick around, it may as well make the attempt. If you’re Google CEO Larry Page, you never know when you’ll need someone skilled in some esoteric technology in order to helm a new special project.

2 Responses to “Google’s Secret Retention Tactic: The Bench”

  1. jgalt2000

    Hah, if it were IBM, they’d give you the boot if you were idle for a week, even *if* you were needed for a critical project the next month.

  2. John Rooney

    The way the hi tech system seems to work today is you have about 20-25 years to acquire develop skillsets that for the short term will pay you well. There is an analogy to a conveyor belt which holds that you ride that belt a predetermined amount of life-time but the belt takes an abruptly short downward path which casts you downward into an area of lowered employability value. All careers wind up this way without exception.