When Too Much Seth Godin is Too Much Seth Godin...
Being Fair to Seth Godin...

The Google/HR Capitalist Algorithm For Predicting HR That Sucks...

By now, you've heard that Google has an algorithm to help determine which employees are most likely to leave Google.  The angle is that if you know something about an employee's performance, how they respond to surveys and how their peers feel about them, you can figure out who's most likely to leave.

I like it.  Of course, just because you know someone's likely to leave doesn't mean you're going to stopAlgorithm them.  More on the those crazy cats at Google from the Wall Street Journal:

"Concerned a brain drain could hurt its long-term ability to compete, Google Inc. is tackling 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."

I like it, but then again, I liked the following tweet from Wally Bock:

"If Google had good supervisors, they wouldn't need the HR algorithm + w/o good supervisors the algorithm won't work. http://bit.ly/KYTxT

So, I've done what any reasonable HR pro would do.  I've created an algorithm to determine if your HR pro sucks or not.  It's actually been in the making for 2 years, just wrapped up the technology.  All I need to determine whether your HR team is a player or not is a strand of hair, the files from their laptop and their Internet browsing history.  Oh, I'm also looking for venture or angel capital.  Here's the details behind the algorithm:

--Amount of time spent browsing sites like ET or TMZ during the day, (x or "times")

--The amount of time spent on creating policies and other non-talent related activities, (x)

--Percentage of Excel Spreadsheets created that have no formulas embedded in them,(x)

--Percentage of reading within HR domain that involves "legislative updates", (x)

--Percentage of core managerial skills training within client group lead by someone other than HR pro being evaluated by this algorithm, (x)

--Percentage of performance management system within client group of HR pro being evaluated that involves a form that's "standard" or the same for everyone, versus customized goals/objectives for each employee/position. (x)

--BONUS Enhancer - Factor of 5 if the HR pro has a choice between laptop and desktop, and has kept the desktop.

= Proprietary HR Capitalist model for determining if your HR function sucks.  The higher the score, the more likely your HR function is struggling.

What did I miss in the model?  Let me know and I'll update my Lotus spreadsheet via my Commodore64.


Eve Stranz

While it is a reflection of the line managers as well, I think you need to add:

--Percentage of "tough discussions" (critical feedback, corrective action, etc.) HR pro leads with employees without the employees' manager in the room

Having joined an organization where this was the regular course of action, it took me six months to show the HR manager and the line managers how not only was this approach ineffective, but it was inefficient as well (only one HR manager for 2000 employees, but 100 managers who could/should be able and willing to lead these conversations with their own direct reports.)

Keep up the great blogging, Kris - you are one of a few HR-related blogs that I find useful and worth the time reading.


Chris - you have outdone yourself today! This is on point and hysterical (I think you need more than x...;-)). Keep up the great stuff. Shannon


Amen to @Eve! My major pet peeve.


Another factor to consider if the company is young and located in Silicon Valley. The percentage of of "C" and "V" level executive that have engineering or medical degrees.

Engineers and doctors that start companies seem to be prone to hire HR people that fit their personal stereotype of HR.

Ben Eubanks

*Percentage of performance evaluations given that were cut/pasted from a book.
*Ratio of disciplinary actions to commendations greater than 25:1 (just fire somebody already!)


How about:

Percentage of time spent creating programs based on "gut feel". For example, Billy Bob has bad sales performance, therefore all 200 sales people in the company should get sales training.

jessica lee

there's gotta be something in the algorithm about HR "pros" who have responsibility for planning the company picnic and christmas party... and maybe add in something for the HR "pro" who has to manage the administrative pool. major fail for the "pros" who continue on with either of those responsibilities... subtract 15 points for each maybe? we're better than that.

laurie ruettimann

Good lord, no good HR Professional reads the ET or TMZ websites. They're too crazy with ads. We go straight to the source:

- People
- UsWeekly
- Perez
- HuffPost celebrities/fashion

It's quality versus quantity.

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