Since we seem to have a theme going this week of technology and employees, another thought: While Peter Karmanos appears to be about giving his new employee the benefit of the doubt, I continue to hear rumblings out of another company that seems to take the opposite approach: forever trying to catch its employees doing something wrong, including via technology.
This particular company is “fear-driven” from the very top. With very rare exceptions, it does not allow its people to join networking groups or professional industry organizations; somehow paranoid they might be recruited by other firms. Employee ‘comings and goings’ are closely monitored, including who they are going to lunch with and what time they arrive and leave each day. New ideas and creativity, if not in line with that of management, are quashed. And the piece d’ resistance? Management actually monitors employee desktops via spyware to see what they are working on and viewing. Stray onto the internet for a moment and you’re called on the carpet.
What’s interesting is that this company, by trying to control and bully, is actually losing the very people it is trying to ‘keep in line.’ Treated as such, they become disengaged, disenfranchised, disillusioned. It is a recipe for disaster; a fate that is being borne out as this company shrinks and implodes. An interesting self-fulfilling prophecy in action.
It is a lesson for all of us who lead organizations and professionals. Root for your people to take chances, explore new horizons and grow. Allow them to express themselves and provide new opinions and perspectives. Treat them well and you needn’t worry about their leaving, only shared successes.