Savvy ways to retain employees

The Wall Street Journal just posted this article — Google to Give Staff 10% Raise — which reveals two fascinating tidbits for HR wonks like me:

1) While the companywide pay raise was prompted by the worrisome exodus of Googlers to competitors like Facebook, this employee-retention solution was guided by workforce survey results (which indicated Googlers cared more about their salaries than bonuses or equity).

When was the last time you saw a company respond so strongly and decisively to workforce feedback?

2) Google is also trying to lower its employee attrition rate by “testing a mathematical formula to try to predict which employees are most likely to leave, based on factors like employee reviews.”

Wow, I’d love to see the formula for that.  But I truly believe — based on all the personal stories I’ve heard from friends and industry colleagues who left their jobs over the years and all the studies I’ve read and the experts I’ve interviewed while reporting on workplace issues — that the overwhelming majority of workers choose to leave their jobs because they’re unhappy with their managers.  I wonder if and how Google factors the “bad boss” quotient into its attrition-prediction formula.  No matter how sophisticated society’s science and technology gets, the human touch remains an all-important elusive factor throughout life.

About Nicole C. Wong

Life explorer. Multimedia storyteller. Experience architect. Everything enthusiast. Omnivore epicure. Lindy-hop lover. Living by grace through faith.
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1 Response to Savvy ways to retain employees

  1. Joseph L says:

    This is just a peanut gallery comment, but in response to the last line of your post, I suspect what Google would say is that the whole point of trying to come up with an algorithm to measure employee antsyness, is precisely to demystify what has thus far been “elusive” — call it the human touch or anything else.

    Lately I’ve come to understand that the particular flavour of Kool-Aid in circulation at Google is a kind of strong reductionism. Except instead of atoms or cells, it’s all about data. The idea that the only thing standing in the way of our understanding the elusive stuff has been that until recently we haven’t had enough data or the means to process it.

    So the bad boss gets reduced to a set of objective behaviours that may or may not be explicit. This kind of analysis doesn’t give you human-friendly names for phenomena, so it’s not going to help much with training (or storytelling for that matter), but it sure does help you make rational decisions.


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