Google develops algorithm to stem talent loss

May 19, 2009
People sit under a Google logo. Google, concerned by the recent departures of several top executives, has developed an algorithm to try to identify which employees are likely to quit, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Google, concerned by the recent departures of several top executives, has developed an algorithm to try to identify which employees are likely to quit, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The Journal said the Internet search and advertising giant had turned to mathematical formulas because it was "concerned a brain drain could hurt its long-term ability to compete."

The newspaper said Google examined data from employee reviews and promotion and pay histories to try to identify which of its 20,000 were most likely to leave the Mountain View, California-based company.

Laszlo Bock, who runs human resources for Google, told the Journal the algorithm helps the company "get inside people's heads even before they know they might leave."

The newspaper said Google officials were reluctant to share details of the formula, which is still being tested, but it had already identified employees "who felt underused, a key complaint among those who contemplate leaving."

Edward Lawler, director of the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California, told the Journal Google was "clearly ahead of the curve" in taking a more quantitative approach to personnel decisions.

The Journal quoted current and former Google employees as saying the company is losing talent because some employees feel they can't make the same impact as the company matures.

Recent departures from include Tim Armstrong, a senior vice president, who left in March to head AOL, display-advertising chief David Rosenblatt, and Asia-Pacific and Latin America president Sukhinder Singh Cassidy.

Others who have left recently for start-ups such as and Twitter include lead designer Doug Bowman, engineering director Steve Horowitz and search-quality chief Santosh Jayaram, the Journal said.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: 'SwaziLeaks' looks to shake up jet-setting monarchy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google execs collect bonuses

Mar 03, 2009

Bonus may be a dirty word on Wall Street right now, but end-of-year cash is still being handed out in Silicon Valley.

Google Maps combines with Google Local

Oct 07, 2005

Google Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., says it has combined its Google Maps service with Google Local, moving both out of beta, or testing, status.

Google News launches Twitter feed

Apr 28, 2009

Google News, the news aggregation site run by the Internet search giant announced the launch of the @googlenews Twitter feed in a post on the Google News blog on Monday.

Recommended for you

Startups offer banking for smartphone users

1 hour ago

The latest banks are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Startups, such as Moven and Simple, offer banking that's designed specifically for smartphones, enabling users to track their spending on the go. Some things ...

'SwaziLeaks' looks to shake up jet-setting monarchy

23 hours ago

As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to end a two-year forced stay at Ecuador's London embassy, he may take comfort in knowing he inspired resistance to secrecy in places as far away as Swaziland.

Ecuador heralds digital currency plans (Update)

23 hours ago

Ecuador is planning to create what it calls the world's first digital currency issued by a central bank, which some analysts believe could be a first step toward abandoning the country's existing currency, ...

WEF unveils 'crowdsourcing' push on how to run the Web

Aug 28, 2014

The World Economic Forum unveiled a project on Thursday aimed at connecting governments, businesses, academia, technicians and civil society worldwide to brainstorm the best ways to govern the Internet.

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

x646d63
2.3 / 5 (3) May 19, 2009
Start me at $200K, increase my pay by 15% every six months and I'll be a lifer.
NeilFarbstein
1 / 5 (2) May 19, 2009
what do they do google their ex employeees to track them down and chain them to their desks?
vika_Tae
3 / 5 (1) May 20, 2009
Its a good idea, and is essentially social data mining; analyzing the thoughts that might be running through the heads of any given employee in a large organization. It could certainly help to deal with any social issues that develop, before they develop.
PaulLove
2 / 5 (1) May 20, 2009
Hmm it seems to me that if your corporate culture is such that your people don't feel they can talk to you about how they feel, if you would rather develope an algorithm to annalyze them instead of talk to them that perhaps that is one of the reasons you are losing people. Keep in mind its not the joe snuffy employee they are worried about its their top level people.

Then again I work for a company with 600 people that's very open even if a bit geographically diverse.
N_O_M
not rated yet May 20, 2009
what do they do google their ex employeees to track them down and chain them to their desks?
They show them the "Intern" job ads for your bogus company Vulvox
Soylent
not rated yet May 24, 2009
Start me at $200K, increase my pay by 15% every six months and I'll be a lifer.


I'm sure you would. In just 70 years your yearly salary would equal the current world GDP.