Monday, April 25, 2005

Trust, technology & employee performance

A few weeks ago, on the For Immediate Release podcast, Shel Holtz ranted about employee trust and monitoring technologies. I listened, smiling. Little did I know that it was going to be so timely.

36 hours later I was sitting in the office of one of the board directors and the topic of a 'Values and Behaviours' project came up - had I done something like that before? (Yes) what should they think about?

Lots of companies have published 'values and behaviours'. Most are worthless. What differentiates the ones that work and the ones that don't? Well the good apply their values to everything they do. They become checklists for everything the firm does.

Trust is almost always part of a company's published values. So how, as Shel points out, does monitoring emails & online behaviours constitute trust? It doesn't, it can't. Neither does blocking internet email access, blocking blog access because it is 'personal use', stopping personal calls...

Great workforces are ones where everyone is treated like adults. Most people, most of the time know what they should do. The best places to work often have made allowances to help staff do other 'life' activities more easily. The contract here is 'you're here to perform to the best of your ability, we'll try and provide a supportative environment and you'll be measured and rewarded for the contribution you make.

Lynda Gratton's book 'the Democratic Enterprise' - liberating your business with freedome, flexibility and commitment' offers a good summary of this. It is well worth a read.