How Google Retains Top Talent with Innovative Equity Programs

Katherine Mehr

As we look towards an improving economy, top talent will have an increasing number of opportunities. Organizations that focus on retaining their best talent must use all the tools available to do so, including compensation.

Google applies 3 principals to their compensation program design:

1. To attract & retain the world’s best talent. As a result of that, Google tends to have above market compensation targets. They reward high performers very well.

2. Foster a culture of innovation as well as performance. Google has some really robust recognition programs to support this.

3. To share the success of the company with their employees. Google gives their employees the opportunity to participate in the annual company success. Everyone in the company receives equity grants in addition to company bonus plans and their normal base salary programs.


The effectiveness of Google’s compensation program has been validated by reviewing attrition facts and figures along with retention rates. As a result of these programs, Google also has reduced costs associated with turnover by retaining key talent.

Frank Wagner, Director of Compensation for Google, discusses with Human Resources IQ, Google’s success story and how providing employees with equity grants has been highly effective in retaining some of the world’s best talent.