Employees for Google’s self-driving car project received such generous benefits and pay that several of them left the company to reap the large payouts.
Due to Google’s atypical compensation system, which was based on the project’s estimated value at the time, workers on their way out of the company were granted massive severance packages. In fact, the payouts were so substantial, that two people familiar with situation called it “F-you money,” according to Bloomberg.
Such an incentive and pay-based infrastructure was originally configured to reward success and retain talent within the company, but it ultimately had a reverse effect, leading to an exodus of talent.
Google was trying to keep up in the “arms race” for “driverless” vehicle development as several companies, both in the tech and automotive industry, were seeking out the best minds in the business. (RELATED: Distracted Driving Is A Huge Problem, And Autonomous Cars Could Help)
Companies like Apple, Samsung, Uber, Lyft, and several others, have all signaled they are either currently exploring or developing autonomous driving technology. (RELATED: Uber, Anheuser-Busch Use Self-Driving Truck To Deliver 45,000 Cans Of ‘America’)
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, overtook Apple in February to become the most valuable public company in the world.
Due to the fact that Google has so much capital, perhaps leadership thought it was best to funnel copious amounts of funding into salaries and benefits in order to preserve talent.
Retaining high-level employees with critical knowledge in the nascent area of autonomous vehicle technology appears hard to do.
Tesla poached an 11-year veteran at Apple in order to speed up its autopilot tech development. (RELATED: Apple In Discussion With Luxury Car Company Because It Feels Left Out Of The Vehicle Industry)
But, Tesla has been a victim of employee brain drain itself.
The tech conglomerate filed a lawsuit against a former employee in January, accusing the staff member of stealing confidential data and trying to herd other employees towards an independent self-driving startup he was developing.
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