1984 May Be Closer Than You Think
I received an unsolicited email from a company that is selling software that they say “can reveal to you (SIC) what your employees do during business hours. It reminded me of George Orwell’s popular novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, which describes official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of the past by a totalitarian authoritarian state. This software allows you to "monitor your employee activity from anywhere.” The software is being sold as a way to manage workplace productivity and increase company profits.
The problem as I see it is some companies will actually buy the software. I am sure that companies that buy this product are already not a nice place to work and this will actually enable them to deliver more negative consequences. Just because something can be tracked doesn’t mean that it should be. This debate is currently going on about the NSA’s tracking of phone and email records. The technology exists now to monitor whether employees are wearing safety equipment.
We don’t offer this technology as a part of our safety system because companies that don’t understand the laws of behavior will misuse the technology. The thing that many supervisors and managers don’t need is another tool that will increase the use of punishment at work. Although tracking employees’ performance can be used effectively for the benefit of employees and the organization, it is unlikely that it will be. People don’t need help in how or when to punish but they usually do need help in how and when to use positive reinforcement. Your workplace, your family and your community will be a better place when we learn how to use the powerful tool of positive reinforcement to solve problems and create value in all those places. 1984 has come and gone. Hopefully it will rest in peace.
Read more about how to use Positive Reinforcement so people will do their best (even when you're not looking).