Holiday cheer is coming early to all employees of online search giant Google. A memo from CEO Eric Schmidt, reprinted Tuesday by Business Insider, reveals that all full- and part-time employees of Google will get 2011 salary increases of at least 10 percent, as well as $1,000 cash "holiday bonuses." Not only that, Google will cover the taxes on the holiday bonus.
Further, Business Insider reports, "Google will also give each employee an additional raise equivalent to 1X the employee's target bonus for the year. And employees will be eligible for additional "merit increases" based on their individual performance." Let me be the first to say that I hope this is the start of a trend. As BI notes, the raises alone for Google's approximately 23,000-plus workers could cost $1 billion a year. It'll be interesting to see how Wall Street reacts to this news, because while the search giant is worth $154 billion, and will make a run at $30 billion in revenue this year, that's still a big chunk o' change, as they say. I wouldn't be surprised if shares were down on Wednesday. (I also wouldn't be surprised if they rose. So either way, I can claim I made the correct prediction.) Google has suffered from a "brain drain" over the past few years, with employees leaving for a number of reasons, including dissatisfaction with their pay, frustration over excessive bureaucracy and aggressive recruiting by other companies such as Facebook. (Here's an interesting TechCrunch post from last year about why Google employees quit the company, based on actual posts from former Google workers.) Google is on a huge roll right now, so this is a perfect time to throw around a little money (OK, make that a lot of money) to keep workers happy and reduce attrition. Now, if only we could persuade Google to offer cash prizes to power users such as myself. I'm just putting it out there.
Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.