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Ducks in a Row: Acqui-hiring

by Miki Saxon

http://www.flickr.com/photos/akzo/6834998858/Buying startups and shutting down their business in the name of acquiring talent is a hot trend—and one easily destined to fail.

Talent retention in ‘acqui-hiring’ fails most often for the same reason it has always failed—culture.

And before anyone offers the ‘large company culture vs. startup culture’ argument let me point out that Google and Facebook are large companies, not startups.

Retaining acquired talent isn’t a new problem and I addressed it in 2006 from the other side, i.e., a young company wanting to maintain its culture as it acquired smaller companies.

Realistically speaking, I don’t care how cool the culture and perks at Google and Facebook are, there is no way they or similar companies can provide true startup culture, camaraderie, or environment.

But it is amusing (if you don’t own their stock) to watch them try.

In the same vein, why is it so surprising when long-term employees leave?

The media loves to feature stories about turnover at Google, Facebook, Zynga, Groupon, Amazon, even Microsoft and other startup-no-longer companies, while ignoring the same turnover at Cisco, Intel and. IBM

When will they learn?

Those who get a thrill creating something from nothing and building foundations may start losing interest when the scaffolding for higher stories goes up and become totally disinterested when the walls go in.

High salaries, excessive stock options, even powerful positions may hold them, but retention doesn’t always translate to productivity or cultural harmony.

All I can say is caveat emptor and don’t whine if (when) it doesn’t work.

Flickr image credit: AKZOphoto

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