Can an algorithm stop Google's brain drain?

Google has turned to an algorithm to crunch data on its employees to prevent brain drain. The Wall Street Journal reports: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 has turned to an algorithm to crunch data on its employees to prevent brain drain. 

The Wall Street Journal reports:

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.

In the story, experts cheer the quantitative approach to personnel decisions. For instance, Google's algorithm can highlight workers that feel underused. 

In part, Google is facing what every company faces as they go from a start-up to a big company. At a startup, everyone has a role. At a big company you can feel like a cog in a machine. Google has lost key executives to AOL, Facebook and Twitter. 

The big question is whether this quantitative approach to human capital will make a huge difference. After all, Google's number crunching is really just a screen to highlight problems. The real work comes in the people skills. 

Indeed, the Journal reports that Google's lack of career planning is a problem---notably a people problem. Can an algorithm handle things like emotional intelligence, a management style that keeps employees engaged and all the other odds and ends that lead to disgruntled workers? Life doesn't boil down to an algorithm---yet.