Google Using Algorithm To Find Potential Defectors

According to the Wall Street Journal Google is trying to apply its own search techniques to the problem of employee retention:

Concerned a brain drain could hurt its long-term ability to compete, Google Inc. is tackling the problem with its typical tool: an algorithm.

The Internet search giant recently began crunching data from employee reviews and promotion and pay histories in a mathematical formula Google says can identify which of its 20,000 employees are most likely to quit.

Google officials are reluctant to share details of the formula, which is still being tested. The inputs include information from surveys and peer reviews, and Google says the algorithm already has identified employees who felt underused, a key complaint among those who contemplate leaving.

I wonder how employees will feel about this strategy. But it’s smart for Google to proactively identify desirable employees who might quit and provide incentives for them to stay. I also wonder how this approach might affect compensation and/or project staffing.

And then we have to ask: will clever employees try and game the retention algorithm somehow?

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Employees

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Winooski

    Human Resource Executive:
    “Matt, it’s…uh…come to our attention lately that you may not be as…uh…happy in your job as you used to be. We’d like to offer you a 25% raise.”

    Matt Cutts (Slowly tapping fingertips together, a la Mr. Smithers):
    E-hh-hh-hh-xcellent!

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