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Google Refresher Stock

ai practice interviews google compensation google refresher stock practice interviews ai Mar 27, 2024

When talking about total compensation at Google it can be really complicated because of all the components that make up your pay. 

And to complicate things even further, we are not only looking at year one numbers, but what the compensation looks like over four years, because this is the length of our initial equity vest (currently 38% in year 1, 32% in year 2, 20% in year 3 and 10% in year 4 at Google). 

When we start looking at this equity grant we start to get concerned that we will make less money the longer we are there. And this is where Refresher stock (RSUs) come into play.

So What is a Refresher Grant?

Essentially, stock refreshers are additional stocks given to employees who have already received initial grants in the company. And the primary intent is to keep compensation levels consistent/going up over time. 

How does it work?

Refresher grants are given once a year. If you have worked the full previous year (for example all of 2023) you will receive this grant in early 2024. Essentially, if you worked the full calendar year, you are guaranteed refresher stocks. The amount is based on a number of items, specifically: your role, your level, your location, your performance and manager discretion. All five of these items will impact how many refreshers you get.

And these grants are not based on what you received initially (your initial vest). Of course the equity amounts of your initial vest will directly correlate with refreshers. Bigger initial equity grants will mean bigger refresher grants, as you are likely in a higher equity band for your role, level, and location.

How does it pay?

Refresher grants similar to your initial equity vest and pay out over 4 years. The difference is that refreshers payout 25% per year as opposed to the initial grants that are front-loaded and pay out (38%, 32%, 20%, 10%) over four years. The vesting schedule (monthly, quarterly, etc.) depends on the total number of shares. And year over year, as you continue to earn refresher grants, you will have multiple stock vests hitting your stock account (Charles Shwab for example). And similar to all equity given at any large company, when you leave you will not get any unvested shares.

Manager Discretion 

This is a really important item to understand. Managers have discretion to give refreshers to those that have not worked a full calendar year at Google. So Google Recruiters will use the messaging: “you are not eligible for refreshers,” but this language is flawed. It should be, refreshers are not guaranteed in the beginning of 2025 for someone that started at Google in 2024. Because managers have the discretion to give refreshers to employees that have not worked a full year. And oftentimes they will especially if you started early in the year.

The specific language from Google is (this has been publicly shared by others): "You may also be eligible* to receive equity “refresh” awards during your employment at Google. At Google, equity awards are informed by your past performance and enable you to share in Google’s long-term success through time-based vesting. Managers plan equity refresh amounts during compensation planning in February. That planning typically starts with a “modeled” amount for members of their team. The modeled amount is determined by an algorithm that takes into account things like performance, role, and level; in limited and specific circumstances, managers who plan equity may apply planner discretion to adjust the modeled amount. Eligible Nooglers will be modeled for equity refresh grants based on performance and prorated for time worked. *Interns and fixed-term employees aren’t eligible. All equity awards are subject to approval of the Alphabet Inc. board of directors or its delegate."

Sum Up

I know this is a lot of information, but I hope it uncovers some of the misunderstandings, myths, and overall confusion regarding Google Refresher Stock.

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