Is Brain Drain A Threat To Facebook’s Future?

By Julie D. Andrews 

Flash back in time a tad and recall that Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg was wrested from the top-talent club at Google, when? Oh yes, shortly after she assisted Google in pulling off its initial public offering. She went, she saw, she conquered … she moved on to the next great challenge.

The gamble paid off. Her strategizing and work, along with that of her team, made her a billionaire last Friday.

Sandberg joined the social network in 2008, when it employed some 130 people and had scant cash in its coffers. After years of training and preparing, along with her team, she’s done it again. She saw the company through its IPO.

But, now what? Clearly, this executive likes a hearty challenge. This raises a worthy question about the roughly 1,000 newly minted millionaires made rich by the IPO, many of whom were from-the-ground-up software developers and engineers whose brains and brawn built the social network: Have their incentives now vanished? Will they all now flee?

Perhaps in an effort to troubleshoot a mass exodus sending a shock through Facebook’s skeleton, the company offered employees the chance to cash out over a period of months leading up to the IPO. Employees who were interested could trade shares on private exchanges, ReadWriteWeb reported.

The sluggishness of Facebook’s share price since opening day has been attributed by some to those pre-trades on the secondary market.

Jonathan Rick of Levick Strategic Communications in Washington, D.C., isn’t worried, telling ReadWriteWeb:

Facebookers love working at Facebook; they enjoy coming into the office of a company that maintains its startup culture while making history. Facebookers are true believers: They know that the best is yet to come.

But this is Facebook as it was. It takes into account only the sway that money may have had on employees. What about corporate culture? In the future, if the culture shifts away from being the informal, startup-minded speed demon that attracted initial employees, could the brains drain for reasons other than money? After all, with stakeholders to answer to, it is unknown whether Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg will be able to continue to “move fast and break things.”

Readers: If you were a Facebook founder or early employee, would you consider your work done, and would you move on?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.