Spying On Your Employees
My girlfriend and I were catching up on the phone the other day when she mentioned her company was going to be installing video surveillance at the office. At first I thought, okay, it’s a big company so they need security surveillance.
She groaned and I could hear her rolling her eyes, “No, to watch us, the employees!” My eyes grew wide in disbelief and I almost laughed. Then I inquired exactly where would the videos be? She said the owners of the company want to keep a closer eye on the employees and she’s going to have a video right in her cubicle!
Who Monitors What?
I’m not surprised that 75% of employers monitor Web site connections.
Therein lies the fine line of watching over your employees and trust. Forbes talks about, “How to Legally Spy on Employees,” where their concern is heightened as technology has improved, risks have increased. Because of this, most corporations are now monitoring their employees closely. Many of my friends have social sites like Facebook and chatting capabilities blocked from their work computers. Some have to check in at a front desk, some have security and others have metal detectors. I’m not saying all that is wrong. Precautions, unfortunately, have to be taken especially in large cities.
According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, U.S. Organizations lose about 7% of their annual revenue due to fraud. Yikes. If you think you’re safe, maybe you should think again. Technology has made it easier for IT departments to become stealth and powerful in their surveillance abilities.
Are you going to cultivate or kill company culture?
Regardless of these precautions can you guess my girlfriend’s reaction to these videos? She said, “My jaw dropped to the floor along with all respect I had for my company when I found out. The small things to get me through the day will now be recorded and scrutinized. One word- extreme! Next move is job searching and finding a company who values their employees instead of instilling fear.”
Of course, this isn’t her only reason for wanting to look elsewhere and that’s another story, another time. However, it’s a large enough issue to feel like you need to be babysat when in actuality her work performance is among the top of the employees at the company. My experience is actually quite the opposite and maybe that’s why you find me largely happy and satisfied at my job. I’m not talking about security at a business in a large city. I’m talking about closely monitoring and instilling fear in their employees minds. Companies have a right, but in return, we have a right to know about monitoring. It’s safe to say I have nothing to hide while I’m at work, but I’m also required to be on blogs and social networks all day as my job.
Security expert, John Pironti of technology systems integrator Getronics says, “People aren’t necessarily more productive if there is a Big Brother atmosphere. But then again, sometimes just telling people you’re monitoring them deters a lot of bad behavior. “
I think that a company’s action around the information it collects about its employees may depend upon the corporate culture it wants to cultivate. Company culture and trust aren’t to be taken lightly. When given a sense of ownership it allows me to take pride in my work. I’m less constricted, I’m able to express my ideas and this helps my company grow and succeed. Isn’t that what a smart company is largely about?
What kind of company culture do you work in? Is there a high level of surveillance and rules? How does this make you feel?