The More “Humane Ways” to Surveil 😒

The More “Humane Ways” to Surveil 😒

“Your employees hate being monitored… but here’s how you can do it anyway!”

✔️ IMO, if you feel like all of your employees are awful  and won’t do anything without your thumb on them, YOU are the problem. Something has seriously gone awry.
✔️ Some locations require disclosures, e.g., if a company is monitoring its employees, they are required to say so. A lot of places do not. If you have employer tech in your home, be careful. Assume at a minimum that your keystrokes and screenshots are being logged. Don’t be naïve, people.
✔️ Is there a “humane” way to sit and watch everything your workers do all the time? It certainly doesn’t feel very humane to me. It’s gross.
✔️ The term “productivity” seems to be thrown around as a way to paper over all sorts of bad behavior. Well, if we’re doing these awful things in the name of productivity, then it’s all OK.  Is it?

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Transcription by  Please forgive any typos!

Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. So today I want to talk about the way of the future and not in a good way. If you ever saw that movie, The Aviator, the scene where Leonardo DiCaprio is Howard Hughes. And he like can’t stop saying the way of the future, the way of the future the way of the future over and over again. And the people around him are trying to protect him and keep the general public from seeing him having this attack of OCD. Same energy, I really think we’re getting ready to see the way the future the way of the future the way of the future. So if you’re sitting there wondering what on earth is she talking about? I will tell you, there was an article on Recently titled your employees hate being monitored. Learn how to humanize productivity tracking. And the byline reads surveillance tracking methods can alienate workers. When it comes to staying on task and remote landscapes a human touch is important. The illustration they use is of a person sitting at a computer with five different surveillance cameras pointed on them at the same time. And I thought, Well, okay, that was spot on. So I will scroll down and read the opening paragraph to you now, if your employees feel like they’re under constant scrutiny, you’re less likely to retain them. When it comes to tracking worker productivity, especially in remote hybrid and asynchronous work environments. When bosses may not physically see their employees, some monitoring tactics are contentious, more than half of workers would leave their jobs if their employer insisted on recording audio or video of them or used facial recognition to monitor productivity. God, that’s creepy. According to a May 2022 survey of 750 technology workers by the Washington DC based business intelligence company, morning console and quote, well, if I if I just if I did nothing more than analyze that one paragraph, we could be here all day, I, I kind of can’t even facial recognition to monitor productivity recording audio or video. I mean, to some degree, let’s get real here. If you have I feel like a broken record here. If you have an employer’s technology in your home, you need to assume that they probably are recording you. I know there are some states and jurisdictions that are getting into like making it illegal issue. In other words, legally, you’re obligated as an employer to tell an employee if you’re surveilling them in some way. But a lot of states and jurisdictions don’t have those types of laws. Now, just to be totally clear, boilerplate here, I’m not an attorney. I’m not a legal expert. If you have any questions, you would need to talk to an actual attorney and not to me because I don’t know the ins and outs of the law. I’m just thinking as someone with more than a decade of staffing and recruiting experience, I know the inner workings of how companies make their hiring decisions. And I personally, in my opinion, would be very surprised if these companies that have ver tech in your house are not doing some type of surveillance on you. I think you have to assume at the very least, that your keystrokes and your screen are being monitored by one of those like every 10 second screenshot is at the very least. So now they get into some psychobabble. And I’ll read a little bit of that for you here. The Big Brother issue is directly related to whether leaders ascribe to Theory X or Theory Y which were coined by social psychologist Douglas McGregor at MIT Sloan School of Management in 1960. Basically, Theory X proposed that workers by default are unmotivated, which means they require strict supervision and rules theory why on the other hand, maintains that people are intrinsically motivated and want to find a sense of mastery in their jobs so they can function in a more laws a fair workplace. Subsequent researchers have studied Theory X and Theory Y in regards to their impact on both skilled and unskilled labor though Theory Y is more frequently associated knowledge workers and quote so Speaking for myself, this theory, why about being intrinsically motivated and being in something that you’ve mastered, so you can function in a more laws a fair way, I will put my hand up in the air and say, that’s the reason why I went into business for myself. I didn’t like being in an environment where I had a boss who had a boss who had a boss who had a boss and you had to wait from something to come down from on high and you couldn’t affect change and you just felt like a cog in the machine. You felt like you were never going to really see any dramatic improvements. And it’s like those old signs that workplaces used to have around with the suggestion box or the complaint box but it was like a grenade pull pull here, if you want to leave a comp of complaint or pull here, if you want to leave a suggestion, I got tired of that. I also got tired of bureaucracy and feeling like I didn’t have the correct amount of autonomy. It really stinks when you feel like you know, more than somebody who’s standing there over the top of you. And it’s like, well, I already know what I’m doing. No, I don’t, I don’t need to be treated like a toddler. The sort of TLDR in all of this is if you come from Theory X, and you think that people are just basically lazy, and you need to keep your thumb on them in order for them to be productive, then that’s the kind of environment you’re going to create. If you come from theory, why do you think that people really want to work and they want to master their jobs so that you can be hands off and not have your thumb on them, then that’s the kind of environment that you will create. Now, they have some suggestions here about how you can boost productivity. In other words, if people are working remotely or they are a synchronous, how do you handle that if you really, really, really want to direct everybody home, wink, wink, wink, and what are some things that you can do. So their first suggestion is create a check in routine. Second is make goal setting a collaborative process. Just as an introvert as like an INFJ, crusty Introvert, the minute that I see something like that I kind of want to vomit. Three is gain a bigger picture understanding. And the little summary of all of this, the takeaway bottom paragraph reads, ultimately, these kinds of human interactions as opposed to machine monitoring are good for business. When you when you are building a relationship with an employee through good communication, you give them the chance to be more of a partner in your organization, then they’ll feel like they have more to buy into and quote, you know, I’ll also pull the curtain back on all of this created check in routine. No thanks. That’s another reason why I went out on my own. I don’t want somebody who feels the need to poke me in the ribs with a sharp stick every day or every hour of every day. What are you doing? What have you got in the pipeline? What do you think might close? Have you called this person? Have you called that person, it’s like, I can’t even think like, let I’m an adult with three college degrees. I’m not an idiot, allow me to organize my day, the way that I see fit, I don’t need these constant interruptions. And that’s how I view them. So studies have shown here I’m in nerd studies have shown that it takes anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes to regain your focus when you’ve been interrupted. So if you’re in deep work, and you’re really focused on what you’re doing, and then somebody comes and pokes you in the ribs with a sharp stick, and like, Hey, what are you doing? What are you doing? What are you doing, it’s going to take 15 to 20 minutes for you to get back in that state of focus and flow. Now you spread that out over the course of an eight hour day where you have some boss that wants to micromanage you and won’t leave you the heck alone, you’re hardly going to get anything done, then that creates the scenario of you having to stay late or stay on the computer late miss time with your family, not because you’re lazy, or you’re not motivated, but because you just got interrupted so many freaking times to their other point about making goal setting a collaborative process, I get what they’re saying. Instead of the manager or the management team, deciding on the goals and then saying I have been briefed you with this goal. You have no input in it, I am telling you what I want you to do. The idea is to make sure that employees have a say in the goal setting process. That part I get where I bristle is groupthink, one of us, one of us, not being able to be the the sort of outlier, the different thinker, the nonconformist to have a different opinion from everybody else. Because unfortunately, sometimes when you make goal setting a collaborative process, especially if you’re talking about taking everybody into a meeting room or a conference room and being like Okay, guys, we need to set our q3 goals today. Let’s let’s hear some ideas. The loudest extrovert wins the day. And let’s be honest here, it’s usually a loud, extroverted male. It usually is in my experience. So for me the idea of you know, let’s let’s get everybody rounded up, let’s have a cowpoke round up. Let’s get everybody button seat in a conference room, or let’s hurt everybody onto a zoom call. And we can all chime in about what we want the goals to be. It’s like no, no, thank you. I’m gonna pass on that. In any case, the main thing that I want to drive home here is this opening part, the title and the byline. Your employees hate being monitored. Learn how to humanize productivity tracking. Surveillance tracking methods can alienate workers. When it comes to staying on task in remote landscapes. A human touch is important, the way of the future, the way of the future. In other words, if I were to reframe this in Sara speak, which is pretty plain spoken and direct. It’s like, look, we understand that managers want to make sure they know everything that employees are doing. You just don’t want to be overt about it. And you don’t want to do it in such a flashy way that it alienates people. So it’s not about not surveilling them. It’s about being able to surveil them on the sneak sneak. It’s about being able to surveil them in a way that they don’t realize that’s what you’re doing. Wink wink nudge nudge. Well, just yuck.

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