Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is taking extreme measures to retain employees, in a series of moves that may reflect the company's need for better HR analytics. And according to a recent report, that need is shared by many enterprises worldwide.
Let's start at the top: Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced in an email this week that all Google employees -- more than 23,000 of them -- will receive a $1,000 bonus this year and a 10 percent pay hike in 2011.
News of the move, which is anticipated to cost Google billions over time, was leaked to the Silicon Valley Insider Tuesday. And by this morning, word was the employee who leaked Schmidt's confidential memo to the press has been fired.
Behind all the drama is Google's apparent brain drain. Various sources say that about 200 former Googlers have joined rival Facebook, whose headquarters is a short drive from the Googleplex in Palo Alto, Calif. Among defectors is a sizeable group of managers and upper-level executives, including:
That's some heavy talent, gone from Google to a company with just a fraction of Google's workforce -- Facebook has roughly 1,700 employees. Not to mention the ex-Google staffers who've fled to other hot, small firms like LinkedIn Corp. and Zynga.
In fairness, as The Wall Street Journal points out today, Google has been aggressively hiring and increased its workforce by 19 percent this year, adding more than 3,500 workers.
Still, it's not the quantity but the quality of personnel that concerns many enterprise chief human resource officers (CHROs) worldwide. And that's where IT -- and analytics -- just might make a difference.
In a study of more than 700 CHROs worldwide, IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) found that finding, training, and retaining enterprise leaders will be a priority for top HR execs in the years to come. And leadership talent alone won't cut it; enterprises are clamoring for so-called creative leaders who are capable of breaking out of traditional ways of thinking in order to advance business goals.
According to IBM's study, "The ability to develop effective leadership, strategically build and deploy the
workforce, and stimulate knowledge sharing and collaboration frequently hinges upon the information available to make evidence-based decisions regarding the workforce."
Sadly, as IBM's Todd Watson points out, "less than one in three executives interviewed rated their companies as adept at leadership development -- a surprisingly low number given its relative importance."
And here's what the IBM study authors say: "Many companies have the capability to use analytics to look backward to
identify historical trends and practices within their organizations. Yet few are adept at using information to develop scenarios and predict future outcomes... Less than one-quarter of CHROs are using sophisticated analysis and modeling to make decisions about the future."
IBM surely has a stake in encouraging enterprises to deploy analytical software to monitor and measure things like the firm's ability to attract and retain employees who fit key business objectives, or its ability to locate people in the workforce to fit specific leadership jobs. But for organizations as large as Google, it may be worth considering the deployment of some IT muscle to achieve these goals.
Perhaps, with a bit of analytical insight, Google may have forestalled some of its brain drain and subsequent drama. We don't know. But it's an interesting and provocative thought.
— Mary Jander, ThinkerNet Editor, Internet Evolution
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