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The rise of “tattleware” is at odds with good management – we need to redress the balance

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“Spying” on employees is on the rise. Recent articles such as this in the Guardian show how more and more organisations are tracking their employees’ every move. Supposedly used to monitor and assess productivity, a range of surveillance products are also being used to track the use of certain words in online conversations and searches (such as salary or recruiter) and to snap photos of people via their webcams without warning.

All of which begs the question, where is the people management in all this?

Some level of tracking activity can provide helpful data to set goals and create expectations, but surely if we want our people to be engaged in their work and not desperately looking to jump ship, then we should be talking to them.

There is a real danger that the use of “tattleware” will become a substitute for good people management.

And good people management principles have not changed with the move to remote working. If anything, they have become more vital.

For example…

  • Agree on clear outcomes for pieces of work/projects
  • Discuss and agree on parameters to work within – deadlines, support needed, resources available
  • Trust your people to get on with it – have check-ins in place but don’t micromanage
  • Ask your people what level of support and interaction they need from you – most will know!
  • Hold regular one to ones – use them to update each other on operational tasks and progress but also build in time to ask people how they are
  • Have all of these discussions verbally, not via email, where things can get lost or misinterpreted.

Most people want a structure or framework to work within – being left rudderless in these choppy workplace waters doesn’t work well for the majority. But there are far better ways of giving direction, than spying on them.

You may also be interested in our RESET model to help teams successfully navigate the challenges to the team working over the coming months.

For more information on how we can develop your managers to support their teams as we move to “hybrid” working, call us on 01903 732782, email, or contact us.