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Stock options vs career options
When someone decides to join your startup, they are betting on the future. Belief in the potential value of their options is one driver of…
When someone decides to join your startup, they are betting on the future. Belief in the potential value of their options is one driver of the decision.
Most CEOs I work with are very good at explaining the value of options when it comes to equity incentive plans. But options are not just contractual rights to buy stock in the future — people also care about the career options available if they make meaningful contributions at a startup. They want to know where they can go inside the company and how their experience will make them more attractive if and when it is time to move on from the company. As an industry, we forget this and I don’t see enough focus on planning and explaining career paths for employees or describing the career options that are uniquely available to great people who work at startups.
This is a mistake. Just like stock options, career options are a way to quantify opportunity — they help people appreciate how good the future can be and more easily imagine their success. Career options can be a retention device, a motivator to align interests and a tangible reason to keep going when things get hard. They are also free and I think CEOs and hiring managers could be much better at using them to close great candidates.