Corporate HR Departments Go Spying to Monitor Employees

July 23, 20158:00 am1639 views

Corporate HR departments are known to monitor employees at work and they have a point to argue, that all you do in company time like checking personal emails and being on social media is accountable working hours. This also doesn’t come as a matter of surprise to many into corporate HR that they work in sync with IT to monitor employees at workplace.

Monitoring employee movements can begin with key cards, video cameras, the time they log in and log out of work computer, tracking key strokes, access to personal email and web browsing of social accounts on official workstations. Human resources are now spying on employees in and outside work in many insidious ways and probably many employees aren’t even aware of the fact. Here are some sneaky tricks opted by corporate HR managers to track employees and understand their behaviour patterns:

  • Making most of the BYOD concept

Many companies now encourage use of personal tablets, laptops and computers for official purposes and employees get excited by an opportunity for both personal and professional life to coexist on their own personal device. This opportunity might seem exciting to many employees who face tough times juggling both professional and personal fronts, and many at times are caught unable to do complete justice to any.

Tracking what’s happening on your device, when you entrust it for official purposes begins with a small key – as simple as installation of a team sharing software, wherein backup of all corporate contacts, emails, photographs, text messages, and communications is recorded at the backend.

What you do not realise is that even your personal contacts are being shared and accessible by IT departmental heads who work in conjunction with the HR. If things could only get worse, when firing an employee the HR personnel instructs the IT department to wipe off all data from the device through leveraging the application loopholes installed on the employee’s device.

Companies that allow for BYOD often require employees to enter into certain agreements and this in most cases involves installation of company software for easy sharing of data across networks. While companies claim this is for security reasons, they get access to glean into employee’s personal life.

  • Tracking and manipulating social media

HR professionals are now turning to social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest to monitor employee activities and engagements on social media. There are no laws barring employers from monitoring personal activities on social media after work hours. Employees are made to feel guilty for associating with new contacts forged on social sites, and employees seem to be increasingly worried that their employer could hold doubts against them in matters of confidentiality breach.

See: Do You Know the Next Big Driver for Corporate Productivity?

Furthermore, some employers require employees to comment only good and positives about the company on social networks. This practice is not looked upon as genuine by many social media giants like Facebook, who explicitly ban employees from promoting company’s interest on their personal timeline. It is against their service agreement contract.

Some companies have even gone to the length of asking employees to surrender passwords of their personal social media account for official purposes. HR managers also tend to infer facts from any posts that are indirectly positioning the employer in a negative light.

In fact, companies are suing over ownership issues of former employees’ personal social media accounts. As of currently, more than 20 states in United States have enacted laws barring employers from gaining access to employee’s personal social media accounts.

  • Influencing corporate culture through social engineering mechanisms

HR managers increasingly perceive themselves as the key decision makers, instrumental of change within an organisation, and hence to make the workforce happy and productive they influence corporate culture through social engineering mechanisms.

These include identifying employees that are engaged and those that are disillusioned. So employee engagement activities which are meant with an innocent sole intent for recreation and fun, are now used by HR managers as tools to identify the proactive workers through team building exercises, gaming zones, company sing-a-longs wherein troubled employees are easily identifiable.

Many at times, gauging productive workforce and active co-workers with such activities is not appropriate and justified, since an introvert or an employee suffering from personal health conditions will not be able to disclose and participate actively in such team events. These employees are precipitated for eventual departure, since they seem to be disengaged and disconnected with the workplace culture.

  • Creating a prison environment with cubicles

Open door policy should be highly encouraged by HR managers in an office set-up. Cubicle cabins create an “imprisoned for life” atmosphere wherein workers do not enjoy access to other co-workers for more information and resolve work related issues quickly.

Open office promotes transparency and fairness in the workplace, while employees believes it creates too many distractions and thus makes them less productive. In open offices, movement of employees are constantly monitored on camera and video footage can be saved for future references. Should HR managers globally support such corporate tactics to spy on employee privacy and track their movement at every productive hour? Please opine.

Also read: CEOs Now Realise the Integral Role of HR leaders in Workplaces

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