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Google to Departing Employees: I’m Afraid I Can’t Let You Do That Dave



I’m intrigued by the WSJ revelation that Google is using an algorithm to try and determine which employees are most likely to resign from the company.

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.

This has me wondering if there are any “black hat” employees within Google. I mean, come on, if you knew that an algorithm was key in determining whether you’d get a raise or juicy new assignment, wouldn’t you be tempted to try and game the system. I know a couple of folks that would enjoy trying! ;-)

You’d think that Google would have already learned a valuable lesson from recent failures: not everything can be solved by an algorithm. Does Google really believe that its new algorithm could have predicted–and prevented–the departure of top execs such as Tim Armstrong? I’d love to have heard that conversation:

Armstrong: Eric, I’m leaving to become CEO of AOL.

Schmidt: Not according to our EmployeeBot Algorithm you’re not. Nope, according to our calculations we just need to give you a better parking space and more M&Ms.

Google’s technology is built by some of the smartest people in the world. Those same geniuses will eventually get bored with their work and feel constrained by the increasing “Microsoftization” of their company.

No algorithm in the world can compensate for that.

  • http://michele.ie/ Michele

    While it's an interesting story in some respects, do we really care if Google turns over staff?

    If I was a Google shareholder I'd be worried about them wasting time and resources on this kind of thing

  • Joe Seale

    This exact method is mentioned to be in use at IBM in Stephen Baker's, The Numerati. Except , according to Baker, IBM is developing an algorithm to determine best use of it's resources.

    Scary and interesting.

  • http://www.riseandshineseo.com/contact SEO Jedi

    Glad my company doesn't have this type of algorithm in place, otherwise they'd know that I'm thinking about quitting.

  • http://www.officezone.com/ John Connor

    Skynet is just around the corner! Judgment day is coming.

  • http://www.getelastic.com/ Linda Bustos

    “Nope, according to our calculations we just need to give you a better parking space and more M&Ms.”
    Hilarious!

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      Glad you liked that! :-)

  • Pingback: 谷奥——探寻谷歌的奥秘 (http://google.org.cn) » Google 用数学算法来决定谁该被裁,算法能解决一切吗?

  • http://www.healthygreenlivingtoday.com/ Jake

    Interesting. Sounds like big brother at work here.

  • Dean

    “Armstrong: Eric, I’m leaving to become CEO of AOL.

    Schmidt: Not according to our EmployeeBot Algorithm you’re not. Nope, according to our calculations we just need to give you a better parking space and more M&Ms.”

    There's a Dilbert strip in there somewhere…too funny

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      So you won't be surprised to know that I have a Dilbert desk calendar. ;-)

  • http://ontheballbowling.com/ peter

    this is the most stupid thing that google have done so far