In this article from VentureBeat, they write about Zynga recently filing to issue a bunch of low priced stock options, to help them retain employees and give them incentives to work hard for the companies long term growth. Yes this is the same company that tried to take back options from employees that were granted those stock options before Zynga went public. Of course they had some spin of why these people no longer deserved those stock options.
But if I were working for Zynga it would be on my mind, what happens when these new options are worth a lot of money, are they going to take them away from me, or ask me to give them back if I want to continue working for Zynga?
Zynga is not the only internet company that has seen their stock get pummeled since going public. Investors in the public markets don't seem to be eager to buy into the hype and give these companies the same kind of valuations venture capitalists and angel investors were willing to pay. This is a big problem for these companies because part of the allure of working for them is that employees can make a lot of money from the stock. Many of the employees are watching as the potential to make money from the stock are grim.
Many of the employees for Zynga, Groupon and Facebook are able, or will be soon, to sell there stock if they are fortunate to have some that are above water. After they divest themselves of the stock, it is likely that they will start looking for greener pastures, where they can get on board a new company with the chance to make money on their stock options.
Contrary to what many people believe, most employees don't join these internet companies to change the world, as many in the venture capital industry suggest. They want to make money, and one way to do that is through stock options. If they lose faith that they can, they will move on. And I would predict that over the next 6-12 months there will be a lot of key employees changing companies.