QuitRank: Google Algorithm Predicts When Employees Will Quit

Oh my goodness. According to this WSJ article (here), Google has developed an algorithm to determine which of its 20,000 employees are most likely to quit:

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.

Apparently, Google’s newest algorithm is using data from employee reviews, promotion histories and pay scale histories in the mathematical analysis. But much like its PageRank search algorithm, don’t expect anyone at Google to disclose any details on this algorithm:

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 what they are going to name this algorithm. I’m suggesting PeopleRank or QuitRank or FireThemBeforeTheyQuitRank.

It’s not very surprising that Google is worried about people leaving. They have lost a lot of big names in the past few months (Tim Armstrong, David Rosenblatt, Santosh Jayaram). Google has grown so much over the past several years. 20,000 employees already? I’m thinking that Google is not as attractive as it once was.

When attractive start-ups grow too big, the romantic appeal fades. And quickly. The ladder gets taller, and it can become tougher to get things done. And it can feel more like you’re part of a machine rather than a person who can affect the machine’s design and success. Furthermore, some former employees speak of little to no training and an impersonal HR department. Check out some of the reviews that were leaked here. [Note: After reading those reviews, I realized that no matter where you work, you will complain about it. It’s just human nature.]

On one hand, I hope Google succeeds with this algorithm. They are treating people as data, and maybe humans are predictable. Maybe not. On the other hand, if this helps Google address employee concerns, more power to them. I guess. I’m conflicted on this one.

Google has found a way into most of our internet lives in some way or another. I really hope they don’t lose any more of those brilliant minds. But I’m selfish. I want more/better products from Google in the future.