Wearable technology are worn devices that collect information about the user wearing them.1 Most commonly, it is used for health and/or fitness purposes. Think heart rate monitors, but bigger: wearables can track hours of sleep, calories, recognize faces, and be created to follow any kind of user activity. It’s a pretty useful tool to monitor—and companies are adapting the technology for high-powered, employee management.
Take the example of Keller Williams Realty, Inc., a real estate conglomerate. Executive leadership decided to give Fitbits (a health tracker) to over 240 corporate employees. The company wanted to motivate their workers to uphold a healthy lifestyle. The Fitbits showed the amount of steps taken, amongst other indicators, to award their most active employees. Keller Williams incorporated wearables in their corporate wellness program, believing it to engage employees in a meaningful way. They viewed the Fitbits as buttressing their associates’ professional productivity. Gary Keller, the company co-founder and Chairman, states “Technology gives our associates the power to set goals, accurately monitor their progress, and then meet and surpass those goals”.
Wearables may be certainly promoting employee happiness and health.
But is this kind of employee management actually a ticking security time-bomb?
Think of the late Google Glass or Snapchat’s basically-defunct Spectacles. The latter glasses’ video filmed a 115-degree field, close to how the human eye surveys its surroundings. An employee with a wearable could be innocently broadcasting the team foosball tournament, but unknowingly tape security badges or confidential files. Despite training employees in information safety, wearables present a new means of extracting sensitive data. A company could forbid employees filming within their corporate quarters to limit data abuse. Though, it might be possible for hackers to access employee information and data, leaving the company at a potential liability.
What should a company do? Incorporate the technology and risk exposure? Or ban the tech and face becoming an aging, corporate dinosaur?
Here are a few points to think over:
1. What specifically are we looking to optimize or become more productive?
It’s important to discern where the wearable will actually be incorporated. Thereafter, one can begin measuring it’s short and long term impact.
2. What security risks do we face? How can we limit them?
Using anything new involves a set amount of risk. Weigh the risk with the potential gain. Work with internal or third-party professionals to mitigate the security and risk involved.
3. How to effectively communicate the wearable’s goals to employees.
Part of holistic employee management involves laying out the “why” of a new initiative. Explain to employees why wearables are being utilized. Address any concerns, questions, and welcome suggestions.
Wearables will fundamentally shift how business gets done. Optimizing how to manage employees is one of the biggest opportunities.
You want to optimize your employee management?
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