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Employee Trackin gis Wrong

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I had a bit of a rant few months ago about companies who both make employee tracking technology and companies who use it.

My main point was that if you feel the need to track employees to make sure that they’re doing their job properly, you’ve got a fundamental problem with how your company is run. And no amount of technology is going to solve that problem.

I was reading the latest edition of the UK’s The Director magazine (no link, old media) which examines the issue in the context of managing homeworkers.

People who work from home can be considerably more efficient than their office-based colleagues, mainly as their managers have learned to trust them to get on with their jobs.

Carsten Sorensen, a senior lecturer at the London School of Economics, says that employers need to focus on outcomes not process. In other words, set the employees goals and trust them to meet them.

“If you don’t trust your employees, you’re going to use all sorts of wrong technologies to monitor every step they take,” says Sorensen. In return, remote employees who are not trusted will spend much of their working day bombarding their boss with unnecessary emails and text messages just to show that they’re on the job.

He goes on to specifically examine tracking via mobile phones and how this breeds a tangible environment of mistrust, which directly impacts on productivty.

Of course, some companies will still learn the hard way – there have always been bad managers, after all. But if you’re a shareholder in a company that “invests” is employee tracking systems, the managers aren’t just bad, but they’re stupid enough to advertise the fact. Fire ’em.

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