Google can now predict which employees will quit?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google has created an algorithm that can determine which of its employees are most likely to quit. The formula is based upon information from employee reviews, surveys, peer reviews and promotion history. While the formula is still being tested, Google claims they have already been able to determine a segment of their 20,000-strong workforce who feel “underused,” which is a common reason why people leave their jobs.

While some employees might find this algorithm to be like a “Big Brother” tool, Google officials claim it’s really for benign reasons, and will help them improve employee engagement and retain the talent currently working for them.

What do you think about this Google formula? Does it give you bad vibes or is it yet another innovative tool that Google has created?

11 comments Add your comment


May 19th, 2009
4:47 pm

I don’t know, this sounds real suspect!


May 19th, 2009
5:01 pm

That gives a new meaning to googling.


May 19th, 2009
5:02 pm

Unless you’re one of the 50K Google employees, it really doesn’t matter anyway. So McDonalds employees, fear not.


May 19th, 2009
5:04 pm

Google is most likely simply mining data on how much specific users are visiting job search websites, seeing as how it is pretty much a good indication that someone is at least interested in what’s out there in the job market.

It’s not rocket science.


May 19th, 2009
5:47 pm

One approach is to spend gazillions of dollars on the development of an algorithm to determine if employees are likely to leave.

Or Google could hire qualified supervisors who know something about their employees’ goals and career objectives (by actually talking to them). Nah, there’s nothing high-tech about that approach so it would never work.

What was I thinking?


May 19th, 2009
6:01 pm

At my workplace it is patent who doesn’t want to be there. And it is likewise obvious who is wanted there. The equation is simple – the Golden Rule: He who has the gold rules (the actual workers suck it up and go on). How many of us pray for a slighly stronger marketplace so we can move on …

Derek Irvine, Globoforce

May 21st, 2009
2:29 pm

Wow. “Current and former Googlers said the company is losing talent because some employees feel they can’t make the same impact as the company matures. Several said Google provides little formal career planning, and some found the company’s human-resources programs too impersonal.”

And the goal is to solve this with more technology and less of the human touch? What I read here is employees crying out for some personal time and recognition of their efforts and contributions — more importantly, they don’t want just a pat on the back. They want to be told, specifically, how their efforts ARE making a tremendous impact.

This isn’t that difficult — strategic recognition is designed to accomplish precisely this by giving employees the appreciation they deserve while tying those efforts and recognitions to strategic objectives achieved. This line of sight combined with appreciation is what Google seems to need — not another algorithm.

More on this concept of line of sight and appreciation is available here:

[...] Google’s Approach to Higher Turnover, Lower Engagement [...]

Lots of them

May 29th, 2009
2:35 pm

Lots of them are going to quit. They are losing touch with who they were and are becoming just another high tech company. People will leave in droves when they realize there is nothing magic about working there after all (ala Microsoft).

It doesn’t take an algorithm to figure out who is going to leave. People that feel underappreciated, bored, underpaid, etc (right or wrong) or think there is a better oppty elsewhere won’t last. High tech workers don’t usually last more than a few years at a company regardless of circumstances. Companies have very little loyalty to their workers, and vice versa. Google won’t be any different. They’ll have retention issues just like every other similar company.

[...] Google’s Approach to Higher Turnover, Lower Engagement [...]


April 5th, 2010
4:36 pm

if they collect this data and work to retain emolyees —- good, if they collect data and fire them —Bad