I am surprised by the prevalence of this as well, and how seldom it is discussed (perhaps employees don’t feel empowered to raise these questions, and founders and investors don’t feel an incentive to focus on them). But they should, with confidence that a “healthy company” will outlast an unhealthy one over time.
The conversation w/ the HR head was actually a brainstorm of ways to more clearly communicate these factors. She saw the need, and was at a company that she feels has nothing to hide (in which case transparency around the value of equity should help close candidates).
I hope transparency around the levers impacting the value of comp becomes standard, rather than the exception.