Monday - May 29, 2000
In Silicon Valley, Loyalty
Means Paying a High Price
According to the New York Times:
"In November, more than
100 employees of Calico Commerce were millionaires, at
least on paper.
Today only 20 are. As Calico's
stock has fallen 80 percent from its November peak, the
rest have watched their fleeting wealth burn away like
fog in the California sun. In April alone, Calico shares
lost nearly half their value.
In Silicon Valley, where job
hopping is a way of life and even robust companies regularly
lose workers to start-ups dangling chances at instant wealth,
a stock meltdown like Calico's might seem a recipe for
disaster, prompting top employees to flee and crippling
morale among those who remain.
But Calico, which makes software
that helps companies sell products over the Internet, has
weathered the storm so far, thanks to an intangible commodity
that is supposedly even scarcer around here than out-of-work
software engineers: the striking loyalty of its workers.
So far this year, only 15 of
Calico's 330 workers have left the company. That translates
into an annual rate of 12 percent, barely half the typical
turnover at Silicon Valley companies, according to Steve
Radford, who has surveyed salaries and turnover at high-technology
companies for more than two decades.
Calico's stability is no accident,
employees say. While many Silicon Valley companies depend
largely on the promise of riches to attract and retain
workers, Calico has gone a different route, using more
than money to keep employees happy. The company tries to
combine the openness and workplace perks common in Silicon
Valley companies with the very uncommon understanding that
employees sometimes have lives outside the office.
So far, the mix seems to be
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to May 2000 News Archive