Friday, May 29, 2009

Google continues to innovate...

We all know that Google is a great search engine, and it is far and away the most used search engine. So it is good to see that the company is engaging in some positive employee retention practices as noted in this article by Scott Morrison (abridged here) from the Wall Street Journal of May 19, 2009.

Concerned a brain drain could hurt its long-term ability to complete, Google Inc., is tacking 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.

Applying a complex equation to a basic human-resource problem is pure Google, a company that made using heavy data to drive decisions one of its "Ten Golden Rules."

Edward Lawler, director of the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California, said Google is one of a few companies that are early in taking a more quantitative approach to personnel decisions. "They are clearly ahead of the curve..." Mr. Lawler said.

The move is one of a series Google has made to prevent its most promising engineers, designers and sales executives from leaving at a time when its once-powerful draws are diluted by its growing size. The data crunching supplements more traditional measures like employee training and leadership meetings to evaluate talent.

Google's algorithm helps the company "get inside people's heads even before they know they might leave," said Lazlo Bock, who runs human resources for the company.

Concerns about a talent exodus have revived in recent weeks amid the departures of top executives. Meanwhile, midlevel employees continue to decamp to hot start-ups like Facebook Inc. and Twitter.

Current and former Googlers said the company is losing talent because some employees feel they can't make the same impact as the company matures. Google spokesman Matt Furman said the chance to contribute to "constant and often amazing innovation" keeps employees engaged. The company is determined to retain top product managers and engineers.

If you would like to see this article in its original length and format:

Photo: flicker (keso)

1 comment:

  1. That's just a little too Big Brother for me. Or maybe I'm just jealous...