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

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User comments : 6

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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.