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Predictive Attrition


Predictive AttritionPredictive Attrition – Sounds like something out of the Tom Cruise Movie Minority Report. In fact, it is a term, as used in a recent Canadian Business article that better describes a new methodology at Google for measuring the likelihood of retaining an employee. The article goes on to say that Google is doing what it does best, using data to drive management decisions (one of its 10 Golden Rules), while critics say that just doing something because it can be done does not always make business sense.

So the quandary is, can data points and “unintrusive intelligence” replace the act of simply asking an employee “are you happy?” or conducting the traditional more in-depth employee opinion survey.

While I am someone who loves data and would welcome the opportunity to test drive Googles “predictive attrition” algorithm, which is likely to pull data from the HRMS systems, e-mail, surfing habits, performance data, PBX records, etc – I question what I might possibly be able to do with the data? In many cases, I’m sure approaching an employee at risk with a retention conversation may raise some privacy concerns, perhaps using the data at an aggregate level to design retention programs may be a viable option.

Or, perhaps as employees begin to know that a company is using “predictive attrition” methods, could it become a self fulfilling prophecy – that is to say, that employees may not want to work in an environment of employer snooping.

Either way, technology is here to stay, and I look forward in the future to experimenting within the boundaries of the law and what is acceptable to employees.

Reprinted with Permission from Geoff Ramey’s Canadian HR Blog

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