Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Google's Approach to Higher Turnover, Lower Engagement

According to an article in today's WSJ(, the leadership at Google is concerned over the loss of staff members to newer start-ups like Twitter and Facebook and also over what seems to be a lessening of employee engagement in the company.

So their response? "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.

I have my doubts about the effectiveness or appropriateness of a tool like this. Wouldn't equipping leaders at Google to get to know their people and spend time with them to see if they are fully engaged and/or at risk of leaving be a better approach?

In our book, "Ordinary Greatness," we talk about the need for leaders to have "aspirational conversations" with staff to get to know them better and to see if the work they are doing is fulfilling and meaningful. Give me that over an algorithm any day.

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I would prefer the face-to-face as well..