Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Does Google Have a Retention Formula?

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal this week regarding Google and their need to get a handle on their turnover issues. I thought I was dreaming. Google and a retention problem? We are in crazy times.

The article states that in true Google fashion, they are tacking this problem like any other. They are using math, in particular a very complex algorithm that will predict which employees are at risk for leaving.

I find this fascinating as a person that loves HR Metrics and as a person that loves predictive HR Metrics.

Google is not explaining the details but say, "the inputs include information from surveys and peer reviews, and the algorithm already has identified employees who felt underused, a key complaint among those who contemplate leaving."

Because many of their top executives have recently left, Google felt the need to understand why people were leaving and who is vulnerable, so they could intervene prior to departure.

One of the comments on the Wall Street Journal online community from Gregory Lynn states that, "Google needs to develop a human touch versus always looking to technology." Great point, Gregory!

While the algorithm may give you who is vulnerable, you have to actually do something about the issues that caused disengagement with the company. (human touch)

So while I love the idea of using predictive metrics in HR, you have to balance that with the fact that you are measuring people and they are complicated. And sometimes, you need a little insight with your data. I think when you marry good data with company insight you get some great intelligence to use for better decisions.

1 comment:

Darci Riesenhuber said...

Good for Google for at least caring that their people are walking out the door and attempting to understand and prevent it. It's amazing in today's economy, where unemployment is so high, there are still people with jobs who are completely underutilized. Even when people are busy (ie: "doing the work of two") they can be disengaged and unproductive because they don't love the work they are doing, don't get to use their stengths and don't see how anything they do matters or makes a difference.

It's money, knowledge and talent walking out the door. I wish more companies cared about the people they lose. Good post, Cathy!