Put that beer back in the fridge

Once upon a time, organisations were made up of people. Today, they consist of data. As companies have learnt to mine their data to better identify new opportunities, improve predictions and make better decisions, the interest has shifted from the humans who do the work to data on what they do during work hours.

In particular, employee data is being used more and more in human resources management (HRM) – and, more recently, people analytics (PA) – and workers are increasingly being defined in terms of their data….

This monitoring comes at a price, however. The creep of surveillance deeper into more and more parts of the workday means that employee privacy is all but being erased, and their work experience is being negatively affected. Fear that someone is always looking over your (figurative) shoulder undermines trust.

In other words, surveillance can produce the opposite of the intended effect and create a work environment that runs counter to contemporary recommendations from coaches, consultants and trainers that organisations today need to develop a culture that empowers people, rather than returning to central control and rigid processes.

From ‘Are People Analytics Dehumanising Your Employees?’, Harvard Business Review


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