Click Google +1, Get a Google Employee a Bonus

By Katie Kindelan Comment

If you just clicked the +1 button to share a Google Search result with a friend, you just made the day of every Google employee behind the walls of the Googleplex.  And they’ll be thanking you all the way to the bank.

The size of annual bonuses of Google employees will now be dependent on how often you, and every other Internet user, take advantage of Google’s social media offerings, both current and soon-to-come, thanks to quick changes in strategy made by Google’s co-founder and new CEO Larry Page in his first days in office.

Business Insider is reporting that Page last week “sent out a company-wide memo … alerting employees that 25% of their annual bonus will be tied to the success or failure of Google’s social strategy in 2011.”

Page moved into the CEO’s chair on Monday, taking over from Eric Schmidt, who is now the company’s executive chairman.

The incentive program for employees is part of Page’s strong belief that Google needs to go “social” to compete, as earlier reported by Business Insider.

Page’s laser-like focus on social media may be because Google has been not so successful with its attempts at social networking in the past, failing to grasp onto the market now dominated by sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The launch of Google + 1 this month is Google’s latest social product release, and latest hope that it will find a niche with users.

The tool is a button on the Google Search results bar that users can click to recommend and share with friends, along the lines of the Facebook “like” button or a retweet from a follower or friend on Twitter.

“This is a joint effort so it’s important that we all get behind it,” Page wrote in the confidential memo on the new social media strategy, titled “2011 Bonus Multiplier.”

Page said in the memo that all employees, even those not directly involved in social media development, would be held accountable for the company’s social networking ventures, and expected to test the latest products and provide feedback.

Google employees were also told in the memo to push Google’s social products on their “family and friends,” so if you have a friend or loved one in the Googleplex, expect to get not just the hopes of stock options, but a sales pitch too.

“When we release products, try them and encourage your family and friends to do the same,” Page wrote.

Business Insider crunched the numbers and found that Page’s new directive means Google employees could see a 25 percent drop in their bonuses if their social media ideas don’t float with social media users.

“When Google gave all of its employees a 10% raise and $1,000 bonus last fall, it was part of a move to abolish bonuses that had been based on an annual company multiplier – where employee bonuses were multiplied against some figure correlated to the overall company’s performance.  In 2011, the returned company multiplier will be somewhere between .75 and 1.25 – depending on how well Google does in social.  That means employees’ bonuses could shrink by 25% if Google doesn’t perform.”

What do you think?  Is Google capable of successfully tapping into the social media market?  Is the bonus system a smart way to motivate Google employees?