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Everyone knows that a worker who feels appreciated will be several times as productive as one who does not, and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner is taking that ethos to a new level as he pledges to donate his entire $14 million bonus to his employees.
The business networking company has hit hard times recently, with its stock falling at a worrying rate (as much as -45% on one recent trading day) and morale is low, so this measure comes as both a surprising and shrewd manoeuvre by the CEO. Weiner was even interviewed by Bloomberg about what was called the company’s ‘worst stock day ever’. He referenced the strength of his team on several occasions:
“If anything, it (these challenges) brings people closer together. And the more you go through these kinds of challenges, you meet these challenges head-on, and you’re successful in recognizing that nothing fundamental has changed. The stronger the team becomes, I think the stronger we become as a company.”
Speaking with TIME’s MONEY magazine, Joe Roualdes, a spokesperson for LinkedIn, explained what was happening:
“Jeff decided to ask the Compensation Committee to forgo his annual equity grant, and to instead put those shares back in the pool for LinkedIn employees,”
The magazine were somewhat cynical in their analysis of Weiner’s gesture.
Though Weiner’s gift is an impressive gesture, he isn’t feeling the same financial pinch as other LinkedIn employees. He owns about $12.7 million in company stock, with another $57.5 million in vested options that he can buy for about 2% of LinkedIn’s current stock price.
Business publications are always running articles about how to make employees feel more valued and appreciated within the company. They generally cite factors like regular praise, a personal, interested approach and an awareness of a work / life balance.
Weiner hasn’t forgotten that the occasional extra cheque doesn’t hurt much either. It will be interesting to see if LinkedIn’s performance improves as a result.