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Mining for Quitters Expand / Collapse
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Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2009 6:41 AM
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problem with this sort of system is it is just as likely to be used to identify who is NOT likely to leave and therefore you can get away without incentivising them. (I bet age would be a criteria leading us into a legal minefield)

If HR have a system like this (it would be HR using it right?), its word would be taken as gospel (the computer says yes) and the all important human factor would be removed from the equation.


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Post #732189
Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2009 6:49 AM
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I see this as a negative, kind of like police profiling, or lie detectors.

Sure it's cast here as a 'good thing', but in the long run it can get pretty ugly. People perceived by the fallible system can be the first to be let go, less likely to be promoted, etc, and I think that's where the majority of action in this area will wind up.

The biggest problem is that because the system is so fallible people will be miscategorized.


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Post #732199
Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2009 6:55 AM
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What data would be used to determine potential quitters? What data could anyone possibly have that would be useful?

What? Are they going to have some psychologist determine that blonde hair, thirty-two year-olds with expanding waistlines that just had their third child are more likely to leave?

This is really bad. The more I hear and read about Google, I'm getting the idea that they may be using technology for bad purposes.
Post #732209
Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2009 7:07 AM
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[b]skjoldtc (6/10/20090
This is really bad. The more I hear and read about Google, I'm getting the idea that they may be using technology for bad purposes.


The problem is bigger than google. The problem is human nature. Mining and manipulation of information is inevitbably going to be expanded, it is simply too seductive to be ignored.

When it's used by marketers, it's merely annoying. When it's used by governments and employers (and it WILL be, regardless of claims to the contrary) it is very threatening.


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Post #732227
Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2009 7:26 AM


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Jeff Moden (6/9/2009)
Obviously not directed at Steve... this type of thing is a big steaming pile of hooie. Everyone thinks they can figure out humans with numbers and stats. Try the old fashioned method... TALK WITH PEOPLE!!!! IN PERSON!!!


It doesn't help predict individual behavior, and is obviously no substitute for human contact. BUT, in a company with thousands of employees, can top management, or even upper middle management, actually get to personally know every employee? Not realistic in groups larger than a few dozen people. And if the company is spread out over a large geographic area, with offices in remote locations away from the central management office, it becomes impossible even in smaller groups.

Most people can manage about a dozen or two dozen personal relationships at a time. A few can manage a hundred or more, but that's very, very rare. Think about how many people you know, which has probably been thousands over a lifetime. Now think about how many of those you can actually keep track of how they're doing at work, their morale, job performance, ethical standards, current pay vs market norms, etc. That'll probably be a few dozen. How many of those is the data current in your mind, versus weeks, months, or years out-of-date?

Given those factors, management needs some sort of ability to know who's at risk and who isn't. I think a system like this, used appropriately, makes sense for that.


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Post #732258
Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2009 7:29 AM


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Dave Schutz (6/10/2009)
The dark side of this is they figure out who is likely to leave and fire them before they have the chance to quit!
Instead of wasting time trying to manage by numbers maybe they should look at why people leave and work on improving the overall climate so everyone is happy. Focusing on a few people who may be looking to leave may create a system that ignores the rest.


You can't please everyone all the time. Impossible no matter the size of the group.


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Post #732262
Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2009 7:40 AM
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I like the idea of a system that can point managers in the right direction. However, once they get that information - they need to decide on what to do with it. Some employees are worth keeping, some are essential, some are not worth the effort to try and keep, and others...well, it'd be welcome news to hear they are leaving.

Ultimately, it comes down to someone needing to make a decision. Isn't that why many BI systems are called Decision SUPPORT Systems?
Post #732283
Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2009 7:56 AM
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[b]GSquared (6/10/2009)...It doesn't help predict individual behavior, and is obviously no substitute for human contact. BUT, in a company with thousands of employees, can top management, or even upper middle management, actually get to personally know every employee? Not realistic in groups larger than a few dozen people.

...Most people can manage about a dozen or two dozen personal relationships at a time. A few can manage a hundred or more, but that's very, very rare. Think about how many people you know, which has probably been thousands over a lifetime. Now think about how many of those you can actually keep track of how they're doing at work, their morale, job performance, ethical standards, current pay vs market norms, etc.


These people have immediate managers. That's where the responsibility lies. And if your local managers cannot do that THERE is where your problems lie.


ven those factors, management needs some sort of ability to know who's at risk and who isn't. I think a system like this, used appropriately, makes sense for that.


It will not be used appropriately. It will be a cheap substitute for good management and it will be corrosive.


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Post #732301
Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2009 8:50 AM


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Agree with Jay and Jeff, you need to have an immediate feedback loop in place that is well-used, not just an annual review or monthly touch-base. This has to be utilized by your management staff, and you have to hire the right people in management in order to make it work.

If you have large numbers of folks who want to leave or are unhappy, and you don't know why, then you're in more trouble than you realize, and I suspect your management tree is the root cause.


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Post #732359
Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:13 AM


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There is definitely the possibility that this can be mis-used, but this is the type of thing we all do every day.

It isn't an exact, pinpoint system. I don't think I implied that, nor does the article. It identifies people that might be a risk to leave. We all do this all the time with friends, family, etc., and look at their behaviors to decide if something is likely. I notice my kids are quieter, or listless, and I then make a guess that they are upset or not sleeping well, and then I question them. That's what the description of this system is. You examine some data, you make a guess, and you return that guess to someone that will then go investigate.

It seems that so many people hot button this to assume a list comes out that lists people definitely going to do xx. And based on that list a company does y (fires someone, moves them to a new job, etc.)

It doesn't, or it shouldn't. It gives you a direction to move in for further work.







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