Silicon Alley Insider did a post that was filled with lots of comments about whether offering a voluntary package is a good idea or not. Do the best people leave? Do the worst people go?
I thought I would throw out two cents on this:
Economically speaking, any AOL employee that did not spend the last 2 weeks job hunting is not optimizing their income. If you are able to get a job somewhere else very quickly, then you can bank a fair amount of income by taking the package, knowing that you have a job lined up.
So if you assume every employee has spent the last few weeks furiously job-hunting, that is probably not good for AOL.
That argues that it is smart of AOL to minimize the window. Given that people only had three weeks, could people really have lined up interviews, conducted interviews and gotten offers? I suspect it is hard. So lots of people now have to decide what to do but they haven’t yet gotten positions. That will probably encourage even the superstars to stay if they have an iota of risk aversity to them. The good news for superstars is they were probably more likely to line up offers quickly because they have a network of people that want to keep them.
Poor performers have to make tough decisions. This is not about whether you are in the bottom third because some departments will cut deeper than others and few people know in advance whether that is their department. If you are in a team of 5, the bottom three might go! So if you are not the top couple of people in your department, you seriously have to consider prophalactically taking the package. Yet, your average person considers themselves above average, so in all likelihood, few people will.
Should more people take the package than the number that will? It seems likely to work out that way. Unfortunate because it would be better if everyone volunteered.