I’m convinced that the retention tool with the most powerful binding force on experienced Silicon Valley engineers is the acceleration of vacation accrual with each year of service.
Eventually it hits a plateau, but it takes a long time to reach that limit.
Smart, ambitious people that are feeling totally uninspired and want to try something new keep coming back to “but I’d have to start over on vacation days!”
They treasure the time they can spend with retired parents, with children who will who soon be off to college, and with a spouse in the same life stage (including the vacation accrual bind).
If you want to recruit experienced tech workers, the key compensation benefit to offer and boast about is that you won’t make them start over on vacation accrual. They aren’t looking for a raise in salary, they are looking for a raise in novelty. But if that means sacrificing special time with family, it’s not worth the price of admission.