Posted October 26, 2021 by Mark Perna
Episode Title: Trust is a Two-Way Street
Does it increase productivity to monitor employees closely—or could it backfire on the company? Let’s talk about it, coming up next on The Perna Syndicate.
Ep 317 show:
Welcome—you’re now in The Perna Syndicate! This week, we’re talking about the rise of employee monitoring, especially of remote workers. Monitoring technology can include Internet usage logs, email monitoring, call recordings, social media monitoring, and activity trackers, among others.
None of it sounds particularly attractive. So why are companies like Amazon considering tools like this?
Dr. Phillip Meade says that companies often think their ability to trust their employees is dependent on their visibility. When they can walk by a cubicle and see someone sitting there, the manager assumes that person’s working. When they can’t see employees (which is the case with the remote workforce), the manager assumes they’re not working. Both assumptions are equally wrong.
Instead of tracking real metrics like outcomes and results, employers that monitor their workers closely are tracking little more than activity. Geoff Webb of the company isolved says that activity is easier to measure, but often of no real indication that the employee is being genuinely productive.
In fact, companies that track activity excessively may be actually encouraging their workforce to engage in useless “busy work” to meet arbitrary activity quotas. Excessive monitoring, implemented to increase productivity, can backfire big time.
The real problem here is that employers aren’t trusting their workforce. This in turn creates a workforce that doesn’t trust the employer. Employees who aren’t trusted won’t trust—because trust is a two-way street.
So how exactly is remote work accelerating the trend toward employee monitoring? Let’s talk about it on tomorrow’s episode of The Perna Syndicate. See you then!