If you’re having one of those unproductive days at work today, you may be quick to call a new employee badge monitoring system something nightmares are made of. But a new monitoring system that employees wear around their necks on a lanyard has been designed to give employers a better idea of your performance in the workplace.
The Washington Post reports about the new technology developed by MIT and turned into badges by a Boston based company known as Humanyze. The tracking devices worn by employees comes with sensors that can follow where you go in the office and voice sensors that analyze your pitch and other characteristics when communicating with others. For privacy purposes, the tracking device automatically shuts down when the badge’s wearer enters the restroom and the content of conversations are not recorded - only the tone of the employee’s voice.
The idea behind the data (or “people analytics” as it is called) collected from the badges is that employers will get a much better sense of how productive their employees are and how well they communicate with others. Chief executive of Humanyze describes the monitor as a “Fitbit for your career.” MIT finance professor Andrew Lo conducted research in 2014 after rigging a room full of stock and bond traders back in 2014. What Lo found was that those who performed best were what he calls “emotional athletes”. He describes this type saying, “Their bodies swiftly respond to stressful situations and relax when calm returns, leaving them primed for the next challenge.”
Those that did not perform as well tended to stay anxious even after the emotional situation was over. Lo explains this group saying they, “were hounded by their mistakes and remained emotionally charged, as measured by their heart rate and other markers such as cortisol levels, even after the volatility subsided. Veteran traders had more controlled responses, suggesting that training and experience count.”
One bright spot for those that are not as willing to give their bodies over to the HR analytics department, wearing the badge is completely voluntary, and if you do choose to wear it, the boss is unable to see an individual’s results - just overall numbers. Waber explains the importance of giving employees the choice of whether to wear the badge or not. He says, “If you don’t give people choice, if you don’t aggregate instead of showing individual data, any benefit would be dwarfed by the negative reaction people will have of you coming in with this very sophisticated sensor.”
What do you think of the new work monitoring badge being touted the “Fitbit for your career”?
Would you consider wearing one of these throughout your workday?