For the past year, Google’s car project has been a talent sieve,
thanks to leadership changes, strategy doubts, new startup dreams
and rivals luring self-driving technology experts. Another force
pushing people out? Money. A lot of it.
Early staffers had an unusual compensation system that awarded
supersized payouts based on the project’s value. By late 2015, the
numbers were so big that several veteran members didn’t need the
job security anymore, making them more open to other
opportunities, according to people familiar with the situation.
Two people called it “F-you money.”
Talent retention is one of the hardest problems in the whole industry. Pay employees too little and they’ll leave. Pay them too much and they’ll leave. And if they get bored, they’ll leave.