Somebody’s watching you

Posted by Flux on 

28 November 2021

What’s trending?
There’s an erosion of trust between employers and employees. Companies are using technology to snoop into the lives of employees, from social media background checks to in-home surveillance of remote work. Consequently, employees are engaging in evasive action such as deleting social media footprints or finding innovative ways to dodge the surveillance. 

For example, those working two jobs at a time (of which there has been an increase) have taken to using two separate computers to escape detection. This evasion of surveillance is, in turn, causing companies to increase surveillance. It’s a vicious cycle away from trust and towards more control. And when employees don’t trust their employers to do the right thing when they bring inappropriate conduct to management’s attention, they become whistleblowers. We are seeing an increase in whistleblower culture within organisations, with former Facebook employee Frances Haugen one such recent example. 

Why is it important?
Companies with high trust levels outperform companies with low trust levels by 186%. Employers need a level of trust between themselves and their workforce to promote staff retention and a more productive workforce. If there is a breakdown of trust, employees tend to be unreliable, disengaged, disloyal or uncommunicative. According to research by the Harvard Business Review, Accenture and others, employees who trust their employers experience 74% less stress and 40% less burnout. It’s a two-way street: when trust is strong, it reduces employee resistance to change, a much-needed attribute in an environment that demands organisations adapt quickly to change. 

What can businesses do about it?
Building trusting workplaces involves promoting open and honest communication. In this kind of setup, problems are likely to be aired earlier and can be addressed long before they develop into crises. Companies should give employees a voice; encourage peer-to-peer communication; create a sense of purpose and engage employees in change management and digital transformation efforts. They should also foster an open-door culture to enable whistleblowers to be able to safely and anonymously come forward. The company Xono offers software that allows staff to whistleblow in a safe anonymous environment. It is the responsibility of senior management to set the tone, ensuring that an open and ethical culture is embedded in their organisation.

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By Faeeza Khan

Image credit: Rawpixel

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