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.