Technological tools to monitor employees, "Big Brother" or productivity gain?


technological tools to monitor its employees

This is information that made the rounds of the media during the return to politics in September. The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, uses an application to monitor the work of his ministers in real time: progress, successes, failures... Everything is listed, which allows the President to rate his ministers. This application was designed exclusively for Emmanuel Macron and his closest advisers: Alexis Kohler, secretary general of the Élysée, Benoît Ribadeau-Dumas, secretary general of Matignon, and Thomas Cazenave, interministerial delegate for public transformation. When the affair was revealed, the press reported that certain ministers had absolutely no idea of ​​the “surveillance” to which they were subjected. The President is known for pursuing a policy aimed at making France the "start-up nation", with governance close to the model of the business world. Because yes, this type of application is very widespread in the private sector, so "Big Brother" or real progress in terms of productivity? We are considering the question.

The world of delivery, leader in the field

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The world of delivery is a pioneer and perhaps even a leader in this “employee monitoring” market. The route that the delivery person will take, his way of driving, the time he will take, here are crucial data for the very heart of the activity. Employers very quickly understood that technology was going to allow a real gain in productivity. Companies have thus become real heavyweights on the market, this is particularly the case of Verizon Connect which offers delivery companies geolocation and fleet monitoring tools. The brand explains that the geolocation of vehicles makes it possible to identify opportunities for improvement, increase productivityas well as to identify hidden costs in order to avoid them. The company can see an opportunity to save money, on fuel for example. The issue of employee monitoring is unavoidable, but aren't we going too far? If in the field of delivery, we can make the argument of the need to obtain data on the routes taken, the question is much more delicate when we change fields.


Pervasive surveillance?

surveillance and privacy intrusion

The question of this race for productivity using toolsmonitoring is subject to debate when it intervenes in areas where productivity is difficult to quantify, particularly in the tertiary sector. In 2016, a scandal erupted across the Channel when journalists from the Daily Telegraph discovered that their employer had called on the company OccupEye. This company has implemented tools to “monitor” employees. How to measure the productivity of journalists? By number of articles per day? By the time spent in front of his screen? It is not easy to answer and in this case the need to monitor its employees through this raises questions, especially when we know that they had not been warned of the implementation of this system. In France, installing such software on employees' computers would be impossible. Indeed in our country, the monitoring of employees' computers is legal, but they must be warned in advance. Similarly, software must not intrude on the privacy of the employee. However, we can quickly understand that the limit between surveillance and privacy can be fine, so how to put in place non-intrusive tools that allow a gain in productivity?


Monitor your employees without intrusion

Surveillance camera

Technology is ubiquitous in the world of work. If an employee uses a computer, the employer will have no trouble monitoring the screen or the sites visited. But is it policing or a real gain in productivity? The question is valid. If you are really looking to increase productivity, the solutions may lie elsewhere. Take the example of truck drivers. Companies now provide their drivers with connected braceletsor other sensors to detect fatigue. The driver is thus invited to take a break when he is overwhelmed by fatigue. This kind of tools could be tested in other areas to make the employee work on the time slots where he will be the most efficient. Another example, in the oh so stressful world of stock exchanges, some investment banks are now equipping their traders with connected watches that can assess stress . The trader benefits from a tool allowing him to alert him in the event of too much stress, inviting him to control his emotions and not to take decisions at the moment T. We thus avoid actions which, without reflection responding to uncontrolled emotions, could push him to make mistakes.

The line between surveillance and privacy intrusion is very thin. The search for productivity gains pushes employers to rely on technology, but this can turn into an Orwellian scenario. It is up to the employer to find the right balance, solutions exist and it is perhaps here that the future of the business world is at stake.

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