Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Matching in Google's internal labor market

Bo Cowgill and Rembrand Koning have written a Harvard Business School case study called Matching Markets for Googlers

Abstract: "This case describes how Google designed and launched an internal matching market to assign individual workers with projects and managers. The case evaluates how marketplace design considerations—and several alternative staffing models—could affect the company’s goals and workers’ well-being. It discusses the details of implementation as well as the intended (and unintended) consequences of the internal match system. The case concludes with a debate about how the Chameleon marketplace could expand to include more Googlers and illustrates what to consider when thinking about launching new matching markets in organizations."

"Kuehn and her team launched the Chameleon program at the end of 2015 to optimize employees’ careers and Google’s business needs. Unlike most internal staffing paradigms, Chameleon did not rely on a central HR coordinator to assign the unit’s hundreds of individual contributors (ICs) to roles in its dozens of teams. Nor did Chameleon rely on self-initiated transfers, nor ad hoc, centrally planned reorganizations.

"Instead, under Chameleon, a staffing marketplace would open up three times during the year. At the start of each round, ICs would use Chameleon’s online platform to submit private rankings of the available roles. In turn, the ICs would be ranked by the manager responsible for each open role. The Chameleon platform would then turn these rankings into matches using a simple but robust marketplace algorithm, assigning ICs to roles for the next 6–18 months."
Not a spoiler: It's a deferred acceptance algorithm...

A big role is played by a pseudonymous Googler who the case calls Bradford Preston, who was familiar with the market design literature and who "moved to a part-time role so that he could begin a PhD in economics."

There's much more, about getting this kind of internal marketplace adopted. And apparently new Googlers are called Nooglers.

No comments: