An anonymous reader writes "We're a small startup company which since day one was self funded by management (with significant risk) and grew into a cash positive and self sustaining business.
Our first employee, also our core developer, has been with us since day one. Throughout, he has had a decent salary that's been increased over time but may still be on the low side for his skill set as we stand today — although he definitely gained plenty of experience while working with us. Now a few years have passed and we've reached a point where he is not motivated enough to continue working (paid, but has been more or less idle apart from minor code maintenance in the past few months) and *wants* a good incentive to keep working with us — either we increase his salary significantly, make him a partner or separate into our different ways.
The question is, how do we know when an employee deserves to become a partner? And if a partner, how do we figure out the % such a person might deserve? Would he deserve anything retroactively?
We would very much appreciate the wisdom of the crowds."