CEOs, company managers, and directors can often feel they’ve lost control or insight into their employees work habits and preferences. If the company is instituting new policies or trying out new company culture-building techniques but cannot see the real-time advantages of these investments, it could be a waste of time and money.
To make up for the human contact lost by going virtual, CEOs now have the option to receive regular and constant feedback from their employees. By adorning a virtual team with wearable devices and badges, like the Humanyze badge or Virgin Pulse device, employers and managers can monitor outputs, physical activity, tension, ease, and focus throughout the employee’s workday. By tracking these behaviors, managers have access to data that demonstrates where, exactly, throughout the workday, employees are feeling strained, disengaged, or unhappy. From there, they can redesign company procedures and policies accordingly. The main goal is to create a more satisfied, loyal, and well-connected team.
The designers of these wearable devices insist that the data they’re collecting could help identify and remove some of the inherent obstacles in remote workforce management. They’re providing analytics that could eradicate inefficient practices and increase profits and productivity. Others believe that such monitors are trying too hard to manufacture happiness in the workplace.
The New York Times reported: “Cities such as Dubai, which has pledged to become the ‘happiest city in the world,’ dream up ever-more elaborate and intrusive ways of collecting data on well-being — to the point where there is now talk of using CCTV cameras to monitor facial expressions in public spaces…One company, Beyond Verbal, aims to calculate moods conveyed in a phone conversation, potentially without the knowledge of at least one of the participants.”
Still others have noted that having behaviors and facial expressions tracked throughout the day feels like a breach of privacy. There are fears that such emotion trackers are robbing us of our basic human right to express what we are feeling in the moment.
But Ben Waber, CEO of Humanyze, one of the leading companies in this functionality, assured TechCrunch that conversations are not recorded or stored. The device only collects data from tone, volume, and speed of one’s speaking voice, and individual data is in the hands of the employee only. “‘It’s written into our contracts that companies don’t have access to individual data, and we sign a contract (consent form) with our end users which says we will not give individual data to anyone else. We would be in violation of our contract if we do.”’
These aesthetic cues are in fact providing enough data for employers to sift through, analyze and decide on new systems and strategies to improve communications practices in ways that lead to higher employee satifaction and greater productivity. We regularly see how adjustments made in response to the data produced by these wearable, are showing high returns on investment.
In a review of some of the leading wearable devices and their efficiency rates, results indicate workers are growing more content in their jobs as a result of using these devices. Motherboard reported: “Tenacity offers examples of companies that saw 10-to-25 percent reductions in attrition and absenteeism, and Humanyze describes case studies where companies obtained 30-to-1330 times their return on investment, through increased productivity and other benefits.
While the numbers prove that wearable devices could potentially help remote teams increase productivity and their sense of human connection, it’s important to use them correctly and keep your business goals realistic.