In a Feb. 15 e-mail to employees, Chief Executive Jerry Yang announced the benefits plan, but said that it should not be construed as any indication that a change of control was in the works.
Retention packages, also called "stay bonuses," are also said to be in the works at Yahoo. Such moves are not unheard of when used to retain key employees at an organization through periods of change, however, it is less common for these to be available to the entire work force.
Though there is no word from Yahoo as to whether they are considering such moves, organizations going through tumultuous period often let departing employees know that they'll be welcome back if they change their mind down the road.
"People make career decisions they regret all of the time. Some people may decide to try to make it work, but others will want back in. It's good to promise employees a soft landing, and encourage what we call the 'boomerang' workers," Jim Lanzalotto, vice president of marketing and strategy for Yoh Services, a recruiting firm, told eWEEK.
According to sources, Yahoo made a similar move in late 2006, when its stock was struggling and employees were beginning to flee, something that also may account for the current Yahoo departures.
"The solution was 'Project Engage,' which was a combination of granting options and restricted stocks units (RSUs)," wrote Kara Swisher at allthingsd.com.
"At the time, employees were given two of each kind, with the stock options and one RSU grant having a longer vesting timeframe (typically several years). The other RSU grant, which is essentially outright grant of stock, actually just vested on Feb. 2, which might explain some recent departures of top talent to new jobs."