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Facebook is finally acknowledging that its employees may be just a little bit concerned about the company's plummeting stock.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook CEO and cofounder Mark Zuckerberg admitted that the stock's decline is "painful" to watch for some employees during a company-wide meeting earlier this month.
The meeting itself was reportedly part of a larger initiative to boost company morale. Zuckerberg had previously avoided talking about the stock with employees, preferring that everyone stay focused on their work, but in recent weeks, Facebook's senior management started worrying that the stock's poor performance might hurt employee performance.
Via Bloomberg - Sep 2012
He also said the stock price—a gut-wrenching 50 percent drop since the IPO—“doesn’t help” with employee morale. He noted, though, that “Facebook has not been uncontroversial in the past. It’s not like this is the first up and down we’ve had.” And he implied that the company would likely be furnishing employees with additional equity to compensate for the decreased value of their shares. “I think it’s a great time for people to join and a great time for people to stay and double down,” he said.
Weiner soon turned the company's regularly scheduled all-hands meeting into one big pep talk, reminding employees that LinkedIn is still "the same company we were the day before our earnings announcement."
The motivational speech and bonus giveaway are notable reminders that stock prices are more than just vanity metrics for prominent technology companies, despite the usual talking point that executives and employees try to ignore the fluctuations and stay "heads down."
Employees who joined LinkedIn last year may now have stock options that are under water, which hurts LinkedIn's morale and ability to retain promising employees.
Likewise, potential new hires may look at the swooning stock and choose to work at one of the many billion-dollar startups out there that seem on the up-and-up, or publicly traded competitors like Facebook, whose stock is generally trending in the right direction.