Episode 514 : Privacy vs. Productivity: The Challenge in Employee Monitoring

What’s the most logical solution to making sure your employees are always working, even when you’re not in the room? Filming them of course! (NOT!) In this highly requested episode of “What the Hell Just Happened?!”, join host Paul Edwards and guest Ally Dagnino as they delve into the complex world of workplace monitoring. This episode unpacks the legal, ethical, and practical aspects of using cameras and audio recording devices in the workplace.

Discover not only the implications of employee surveillance but also alternative strategies for boosting productivity and compliance. From discussing real-world scenarios to evaluating the impact of monitoring on employee morale, this episode is packed with insights for HR professionals, business leaders, and office managers alike. Tune in to learn how to navigate the fine line between surveillance and support in today’s dynamic work environment.

Transcript

Voice Over: You’re about to listen to an episode of What the Hell Just Happened?! Join Paul Edwards and his guests as they discuss interesting HR topics and solve some of our listeners’ submitted questions. 

 

Paul: And occasionally I’ll go off HR topic and talk about whatever I want to talk about. Think barbecue. Space exploration. Technology. Money. Managing. Business. Things that interest all of us.

 

Voice Over: We get a lot of emails with questions. Stay tuned for details on how you can submit yours to the show. And now let’s get started. 

 

Paul: Hi, everybody. Paul Edwards here with What the Hell Just Happened in HR?! I’m kind of excited to talk to Ally today. Ally’s coming over from Compliance from CEDR HR Solutions, and we’re going to have yet another discussion about video monitoring in the workplace. So what kind of policies do you have to have in place? What happens when you video when you’re just watching? What happens when you’re watching and listening? And then what happens when you’re watching, listening and recording? This is very, very important that we kind of follow down that three step path and address each one of those things. It’s going to be a little bit longer podcast today because we kind of fall into some scenarios where we want to give you some guidance and then stay through till the end because we give you a couple of solutions about what you can do if you are having an issue and you feel like you do need to be monitoring employees in the workplace. With no further ado, I think Ally and I are going to start today’s podcast. Alright, with that, Ally, I think I’m just going to jump into one of the…Well, I think the best way to approach this subject is to kind of…I want to share some personal stories. 

 

Ally: Yeah, let’s hear them.

 

Paul: You can, too.

 

Ally: Of course.

 

Paul: Okay. So I had a business with a bunch of college students working at it. It was a college bar. This is many years ago, everybody. Long time ago, like a music venue. The problem we were having is a problem that every single busy bar in a college town has, which is bartenders giving away alcohol. They do it for their friends, they do it for their roommates, they do it for tips because their tips go up when they’re more generous. Their pours are heavier or whatever. You know, we’re realistic about this. We realized they were going to give stuff away. So we actually set parameters around it. Like you actually can give away some drinks every night. It’s okay. It’s goodwill. We’re busy enough. It’s okay to do this, but we needed to draw the line. The reason why we did this is that I started less trusting, which kind of fits into today’s podcast because we’re talking about monitoring people, especially through video.

 

Ally: And a lot of it is all about trust. 

 

Paul: It is all about trust and trying to verify and, you know, trying to get the best out of people, the most out of people, trying to stop folks from stealing from you. So what we did is we ran inventory, which is something that you do, and we started matching it against – because I couldn’t afford those really nice, there’s really nice registers that register everything. You put everything in but these were like $20,000. I was like, I can’t afford those, but in the end what I learned was I could afford those if I had actually put them in place, because that would have saved me a bunch of money. Back to what I was saying, we ran inventory for about three weeks, four weeks. It became evident that we were missing about 20% above and beyond of everything else that we had allowed to be given away. So that was quite a chunk of money for a small business to lose. So naturally what I did is I said, “Look, everybody. Stop doing that.” And then we kept running inventory and they didn’t stop doing that. So then we put in cameras and this is why I want to tell the story. So we put a camera in that was looking straight down behind the bartender to the sheet of which they could write down their tab. So every time they gave a drink away, underneath our policy, they had to mark it down so that we knew that they were using it so we could take it into account in the inventory. Then we put just a couple of cameras facing the bartenders from either end so we could watch their pours and kind of what they were doing, and then what we did is we came to them and we said, “Look, we are doing this, we’re recording, we have these up and here are the reasons why.” We tried to make it kind of a big deal, but not too big of a deal, but it was still…Well, actually, we did make it a big deal because they were inventorying every night. I was really sending a clear message to everybody, “You got to cut this out.”

 

Ally: It’s a lot of money. 

 

Paul: It was a ton of money for us. So with that, here’s my point. Like, what’s the point of that story, Paul? It didn’t help at all. 

 

Ally: Yeah. 

 

Paul: They kept giving stuff away. They kept not marking things down. We kept catching them. They kept getting fired. Different people got fired for it by example, but it did not work. 

 

Ally: Yeah. 

 

Paul: So I think it’s important here why, when someone says, “We want to put video up, we want to put video monitoring in our business,” they contact us because they know somewhere we need to we need a policy for that. The question is why? What do you think it’s going to do? What do you think it’s going to help you with? 

 

Ally: Yeah, and I think even when we have people call in to the Solution Center, which is where you would contact to get this policy and to get all the guidance on it, you know, we’ll put the policy in your handbook, but that “why?” is still important. Putting that policy in is not going to be the solution to whatever the issue is, and I think – 

 

Paul: The issue you might cause. 

 

Ally: Yeah.

 

Paul: Yeah, the policy isn’t going to be the solution to the issue you might cause. We’ll talk about what those might be. 

 

Ally: And I was just going to say that I think a lot of the time employers think that maybe putting in a little sense of fear of getting caught is going to be the solution to whatever they’re trying to deal with. Like you said, it just creates a bigger issue and doesn’t always solve issue number one. 

 

Paul: I think we also get a lot of like practice managers, and I mean management companies from the outside who are consultants and stuff, they can tell an anecdotal story about how they recommended someone else put video and recording in and then they got a good outcome from that. I think that’s not hard to do. I’m not saying that you can’t ever get a good outcome or a wanted outcome from a video surveillance, which everybody, that also means audio surveillance. So now we have to think about: we’re monitoring by video, we’re monitoring by audio and now let me add one more thing to this: recording.

 

Ally: Yeah. 

 

Paul: So you need to realize there’s a huge difference between just watching people, that’s one. Watching and listening to people, that’s two. Watching and listening and recording and retaining the recordings, that’s a third scenario. 

 

Ally: Yeah and there’s not only a huge difference in the information that you’re going to gather from that and the potential impact that that has, but there’s also a huge difference in the laws that surround that. So I think that’s especially important to note that even if you have a trusted service like CEDR, those laws are extensive and they change a lot from place to place – 

 

Paul: And they’re in depth. There’s layers to them. So if you do this, this is okay, you do this, and then that occurs. Then there’s this next thing you should know, and none of that’s in your policy.

 

Ally: And there’s not a one size fits all. You can’t just say, “Hey, I’m letting my employees know that I’m recording them.” And then you’re covered from that. That’s not the case at all. 

 

Paul: Yeah, that’s not the case at all.

 

Ally: Something to keep in mind. 

 

Paul: So we already have…Everybody who comes to us gets a monitoring policy. That policy is put in place for very specific reasons. It’s been in place for many years. We were amongst the first companies in our industry to put it in because we realized it was really missing from every single handbook that we saw out there. It didn’t matter where it came from. They were just missing that you need to let people know that you have the power to monitor. If you’re on my computers or if you’re on my wifi, if you’re in my system, we can see. We could see. We may see, we may choose to see. And then if we do see something, we can use that information. And I’m not going to get into a long story on this, but we did use it one time to help somebody who needed to convict an embezzler and the embezzler was confessing, they were actually bragging about it, on their own personal email. That was accessed and then it was argued by the person who was going to, you know, who was on trial, that the prosecution couldn’t use it because it was personal, but we had the right policy in place. 

 

Ally: And the employee had been notified.

 

Paul: They had been notified and they got that. So anyway, I think they finally did a plea bargain once they knew that their own words were going to come in, and that’s a good example of a policy actually doing something very powerful. But again, that’s anecdotal, very specific. It’s very, very specific to that particular thing that was going on.

 

Ally: And for as many successes as there may be with a policy like that, there’s just as many where something’s not done correctly or the information is used in the wrong way and now you’re in a boatload of trouble as the employer. 

 

Paul: Yeah, in a boatload of trouble. So let’s talk in terms of real instances, the kinds of questions that we get. So I’ve got some questions here that are generalized, but they’re very common. So they come in in some form like this. So I don’t mind sharing because I don’t really feel like I’m picking on anybody specifically. This is, I mean, these are very representative, but I’m going to put names to this, okay? Because I think it makes it a little bit more interesting.

 

Ally: Yeah. 

 

Paul: So I’m just going to read the first one as I’ve kind of rewritten it: “I just figured out why Mary’s performance has taken a turn for the worse. While going over some recordings of the front desk, around 5:15, I heard Mary take a call from her oncologist,” and then I’m just going to paraphrase everybody. What they learned in this call was that Mary wasn’t doing well and that there was a lot going on with Mary and that they then wanted to know what they could do. Here’s the problem. Here’s the thing. Mary, her performance had changed, unexplainably, over the last six months and had gotten worse And worse. I mean, at one point they were thinking about making her the office manager. So they’re calling us and we’re talking. They, I’m sorry, the member’s calling CEDR and we’re talking to them and we’re kind of coaching through and deciding together maybe what are the best ways to approach Mary and talk to her about her performance and why she’s late so often and noticed her energy level was down. And again, now that we know what we know, we understand what was going on with Mary, but I just want to make something clear here. The interactive process starts with just treating an employee how they are, who they are, and holding them to the same standards that you hold everybody else and it’s up to Mary to say, “Well, I need to let you know now that we’ve had to talk two or three times. I didn’t want to say anything.” Now she gets to decide if she’s going to tell you that there’s a problem going on. But you’ve interrupted that process. 

 

Ally: Yeah and I think that it’s important to mention that it doesn’t matter how good your intentions are in wanting to get ahead of that. “Man, Mary’s not doing so well. I would really like to be there for her as the employer. I really want to support her.”

 

Paul:  Well then you just step in.

 

Ally: “But, you know, we want her to be the office manager. What can we do to help her to get to that point?”

 

Paul: Or, Ally, “It seems pretty clear now. We were thinking about her being the office manager, but I don’t think we should offer her that.”

 

Ally: And now she’s being punished. 

 

Paul: Now she’s being punished for being sick. You may not, because of her performance, never offer her the position. Nonetheless, the things you’re not supposed to take into account when it comes to managing an employee are the health reasons that they have not identified with you yet. 

 

Ally: And there’s going to be a big red flag that comes up if it comes out that the decision you made was based off the information you learned in a way that you shouldn’t really have. So if Mary decided to file a claim of any sort, that red flag is going to pop up.

 

Paul: She could actually use that recording if she knew it existed. So let’s talk about that. If she knew it existed. 

 

Ally: Yeah. [laughing]

 

Paul: So let me just point this out: If you were just video monitoring and maybe listening in occasionally, turning on and listening to what the team was doing, you would not have this recording. You would not be reviewing it and you would not be getting this piece of information. So here’s one of the first problems with recording: What do I do with the things that I record? What kind of liability does the recording itself create? Okay?

 

Ally: Yeah. 

 

Paul: Alright. So I think that’s going to come up again in the next one. Here’s the next one: “It was around 3:30 p.m.” I’m noticing a “The doctor’s off,” kind of situation. 

 

Ally: The end of the day kind of thing.

 

Paul: Uh huh. “And the front desk was the last person in the building. Just before she left, she stood up, and she disrobed. Changed her top.” And in this particular scenario, Ally, the manager, just called the doctor to tell the doctor that she found this in the recording. So the manager came in in the morning, was just kind of looking through the recordings and listening, and she noticed that this change occurred, and this, too, is in a recording. So now we have an exposed employee who, at around 3:30, following protocol, which says if you’re going to go out and maybe go to a restaurant or a bar, you cannot wear your scrubs. So she changed her clothes. She had clocked out 15 minutes early. She was not on the clock. She thought she was standing in an office by herself, and now you have a video of her being exposed. 

 

Ally: And you never got that saved, right? 

 

Paul: You have it saved. It’s on a server and your manager now knows as it exists. Now, are you supposed to let the employee know that you got this recording of them? Should you disclose this to the employee and say, “Hey. We accidentally recorded this of you. If you’re going to change, change someplace else.” Should you just ignore it? Pretend like it didn’t happen? What should you do here? I don’t even know if I have the answer.

 

Ally: Right? Because you’re put into a…It’s a hard place to be in because again, it’s creating an issue while trying to solve an issue. So I guess there you could be like, “Hey, well, we really need our employees to know that if they’re going to change, they need to go to the bathroom or to the locker room and they can’t be doing it at the front desk.” But again, how do you address that without telling an employee, “Hey, we’ve got you without a shirt on, on tape? I saw it. The doctor knows this.”

 

Paul: “The doctor saw it.” Then, how do you answer a month later when she says, “The doctor’s been treating me differently and he’s making me feel kind of creepy? Did he see that? Did you show him that video? Did he go take a look at that?”

 

Ally: Yeah. 

 

Paul: “And can you prove to me that you deleted it? And can I see the other? What else are you recording?” I mean, you see where we’re going here. We’re creating some problems that aren’t exactly solving problems. 

 

Ally: I do want to point out here, this one is interesting because I think you might be listening and thinking, “Okay, is an employee really like going to do that in the office?”

 

Paul: Oh yeah. 

 

Ally: Yeah. 

 

Paul: Many of you listening out there have a practice that doesn’t even have anything but a bathroom, and she just decided,”I’m going to change here.” 

 

Ally: You know, I worked somewhere that had cameras, and common shift was like 3 to 11. If people aren’t coming in after…It was at a resort, right? So sometimes after 8:00, like 8 to 11, eight to midnight, it was dead up there. So yeah, when employees think that, they feel that there’s nobody around, these things will happen. 

 

Paul: Well, it goes back to my first story. They know the camera’s there. They’ve been warned, but they get to a place where they’re not paying attention to it. They just do what they would normally do. I mean, if you’re a listener and you’re a manager, an owner, you get to say, “Well, I warned them. It’s in the policy. I even have signs up for the public because I have to have signs up for the public.” (Which, by the way, is not our purview. Not speaking to that.) “You know, I warn them, it’s not my fault.” I’m not trying to place fault here. I’m saying you have a recording of an employee with her top off is what you have. I’m just using this as a very real example, but you could insert so many other things that I have a piece of information now that I wouldn’t normally have gotten had I not been monitoring the contents of a phone call, learning that a person is suffering from domestic abuse and they’re suing right now or they’re on the run or whatever. I think we may have gotten this call before, which is, “I just found out the front desk person has a very violent domestic partner and they’re after them and they haven’t told me and I feel like I need to do something because I’m at work and I need to protect the rest of us.” Well, you got that piece of information from the video. I know if you’re listening, you’re like, “Well, so be it. I have a piece of information that I need to protect my employees.” But you got that piece of information in a way that you’re not supposed to use it. You’re not supposed to do anything with it. 

 

Ally: Yeah, and again, no matter how good your intentions are, you reach a point where your hands are tied if you’re wanting to stay compliant with all of the very intricate laws that come with recording all of this. 

 

Paul: Yeah. Right. So, next scenario. Okay, so I just want to present the problem. We always do a little bit of research and look out and see what’s going on right now. In this particular scenario, the monitoring, the appearance of constant monitoring itself is creating a very serious legal issue. So for everybody, the National Labor Relations Act, which is enforced by the National Labor Relations Board, which the laws that are written around this apply to all employers, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a very small employer. One of the key provisions of it is that employees have the right to discuss their working conditions. I’m just going to say it in general: They can talk about their working conditions. So where this comes up at work is that when an employee is on break or on lunch or, you know, really not at work, they’re allowed to talk to each other about what’s going on at work. 

 

Ally: And by that, I want to clarify, it’s not just what’s going on. They can complain. 

 

Paul: They can complain and we have another scenario for that one, but for this one, it’s just yes, it’s what you said. They can complain even if their complaint doesn’t have merit. 

 

Ally: Right. 

 

Paul: And in fact, they’re still protected even when they complain about something and then you prove that they’re wrong. They’re still protected in bringing the complaint and discussing it with their fellow employee. So when they feel like they are always being monitored, then it makes them feel like they can’t lean over and say, “Did you get paid for overtime right last week? Because my paycheck seems like it’s off.” Or, “Did you hear that Mary got a needle stick yesterday? Do you know? Did they send her to the hospital? What did she do? I know she’s back here today. She seems fine, but that patient had some issues, and I’m kind of worried.” You know, all of these things are things that they can discuss, and they may feel that they can’t discuss anything negative because they’re always being monitored. So you shut the doors at lunch, right? You shut down. You’re closed for an hour or two between patients. Your employees take a half hour, 45 minutes, an hour for lunch. Many of them stay there. Are you supposed to leave the video equipment up and running and monitoring and recording or are you not? 

 

Ally: Yeah, I think that goes to pretty much every single one of these laws, no matter what state you’re in, is going to say that you should not be recording, monitoring anywhere where employees have an expectation of privacy.

 

Paul: Right. So if they don’t have, and I’m just posing this everybody, I don’t know if I have an answer to this, but I think it’s a pretty good scenario. You don’t have a break room, right? You don’t have any place for them to go. So what they do is they either go out, but some of them always end up sitting at their desk and having a little bit of lunch, chit chatting, checking their emails, checking their social media, you know, just kind of just being there together and they’re chit chatting and your video equipment is up and running. That brings me to the next scenario, which we often get. “I just heard,” (I’m going to use a HR term here), “I just heard the employees talking shit about me in the practice and I want to put a policy in place. Tell them to cut it out. They do not get to sit in my business and talk poorly about me or managers or anything here. I need a policy in place. I need the gossiping to stop. I need them to focus on work. I need them, I need them…” and all these things because you’re upset about what you overheard, which you would have never overheard had you not been monitoring and not been listening in. I want to make this point. You cannot, Ally…I’m going to speak to you because you’re an employee. I don’t expect you to love everything that I do or say. I kinda would rather every now and then, I want you to have the ability to talk it out with someone else, right? To express it because they might say, “Well, you don’t…No, no, that’s not how he is. He did this with me and that’s not what he’s talking about. You’ve misunderstood it.” Or the two of you may get together and then pull like five other people into it and cause a bunch of trouble, but you know what I want? I want you to bring it to me. 

 

Ally: Yeah.

 

Paul: I want to deal with it. I don’t want it festering and running in the background, but what I don’t want to do is come in, overhear it, and then come in and, “Gotcha!” 

 

Ally: Yeah. I think people are human. They are going to have frustrations. 

 

Paul: They complain.

 

Ally: And complaints and concerns, valid concerns.

 

Paul: Yup. They might have valid concerns.

 

Ally: Yeah, it might not be a complaint, it might be genuinely they’re really concerned about something. They need to talk it out with an employee. They’re trying to figure out how they want to bring this up. But now you’ve heard that information. You’ve, the employer, you formed your own idea behind it.

 

Paul: And you’re upset. You’re calling us and you want to put video monitoring.

 

Ally: And you want to stop that.

 

Paul: You want to stop it. 

 

Ally: And I mean, we talk about the NLRA all the time, if you read our blogs, if you’ve been a member, if you have listened to this podcast, they really don’t mess around with those laws. 

 

Paul: Well, if you’ve got any doubt, just Google ‘Texas Dental Association and the National Labor Relations Board.’ [laughing] And get a look at that case from about 15 years ago, but the reason why we talk about this is because they go after medical and dental practices. They do like to go after small businesses. So this idea that they only go after big businesses – Once they get the complaint, they move. They don’t not answer any complaint that any employee lodges. They look into it because that’s what they’re all about. Alright. So we’ve talked a little bit about recording the video and where it goes. So I want to bring this up to everybody who’s listening. A lot of you, if you’re smart, you’re not using offsite servers for your cameras. I’ll talk about that briefly in just a second in a juxtaposition to using an on site server. So let’s add another scenario. Remember the employee that took her top off and changed? 

 

Ally: Oh yeah. 

 

Paul: Okay. So that night, the practice got broken into and what all thieves do is go break into the closet with a server and steal the server, the little camera server, and they take that with them. By the way, now they have that recording, and you don’t know it now. You don’t even know it. They have that recording. You know what else they have? Every patient that walked up to your front desk and all of their PHI that’s on that server. So do you need to now figure out how much recording was on that. which patients came in and then notice all of your patients that you’ve had a PHI breach in that you’re going to tell Health and Human Services, “It’s gone.”

 

Ally: Yeah. 

 

Paul: “We had a literal breach here. We don’t know where that server is. We don’t have a way to shut it down remotely. The recordings are on it.” 

 

Ally: Yeah, at that point there’s legal implications that come with that, but you’re also running the risk of a lot of really angry patients whose information is out there. Who knows what people are gonna do with it? An employee who probably feels pretty unsafe and violated, I would say. That’s how I would feel if I knew that there was that information out there. 

 

Paul: Then let’s talk about the other option, which is to go to Google or somebody or Amazon and let your recordings go to their servers. Your recordings of PHI laden information, your recordings of your business and everything go to another service. You better have a business associate agreement in place with them. I mean, you have another HIPAA issue there if it’s going out. Then let’s talk about how long it takes for someone like that, those businesses like that, to reveal to us as the general public and as the paying users of breaches and what their accountability is around this because let me let me tell you, you click on something that completely absolves them of all accountability on this stuff. So you really are kind of entering into an environment in an ecosystem whereby these recordings are a problem. So this is why I always…This is what I try to say to people, Ally: Don’t record. If you’re going to monitor, I get it. Monitor if you want to. I’d rather you didn’t use audio, but if you’re going to have audio, let’s make sure we have a really good policy in place and let’s let everybody know that you may monitor it, but you only monitor it live. You only come in and listen to it when it’s live. So you’re not going to pick up later that she changed her clothes. No one’s going to know she changed her clothes because you were all gone. She’s off the clock and I don’t know why you would be sitting there watching an employee at the end of the day when you know your practice is closed. Now might you glance in because you’ve been upset that there have been employees in the practice after hours and you’re looking? I mean, we’ve had associates come in and run their own business on the weekends. So, I mean, I’m not saying you wouldn’t look in it might not still capture this, but you won’t have recordings of it. 

 

Ally: Yeah, and you’re not going to be inadvertently learning all of this after the fact.

 

Paul: Or overhearing all these things.

 

Ally: Overhearing information, watching videos you shouldn’t really have. It’s very risky, like you said. 

 

Paul: I think it’s very risky to be recording and it’s where I’ve always been. So 1) I don’t believe it always works. There are other methods if you feel an employee is not being productive or they’re doing something nefarious or any of those things which can also be addressed by policy, and that allows you to look in to see what kind of work they’re doing. What kind of conversations are they having in the website chat with patients? That’s okay to monitor and go back and look. How productive are they being? Are they idle for 4 hours in the middle of the day? Are they billing like they’re supposed to? Are they stealing from you? Whatever might be going on. I mean, in one instance, we were able to work with a client. They put monitoring in and the issue was that they were doing some kind of giveaway or something. I don’t remember what exactly it was, but they had a deal with one of the major toothbrush companies, one of the electric ones, and they were ordering them at cost and then they were selling them to the patients really cheaply.

 

Ally: Oh! Yeah.

 

Paul: But the employee was ordering extras and putting them on eBay or someplace like that. She was making a really good amount of cash. They figured that out through monitoring. They would’ve never gotten that from video. You need a different kind of monitoring if you decide to turn that kind of monitoring on.

 

Ally: Yeah. I love dental drama. [laughing] That’s a good story, but I think that everything that you’re saying kind of goes back to the why you want to put any of these things into place. 

 

Paul: Yes. It doesn’t prevent. It does what all kinds of monitoring, the best monitoring does. It allows you to detect and do something about it. That’s the kind of monitoring you need. I’m not saying you shouldn’t put video in place. I’m not saying that you can’t record it. I am saying there’s a lot of difficulties with that stuff. 

 

Ally: And if you are going to put those things in place, you just mentioned that it has to go with your policy. So that’s, I think, something to keep in mind. I think one of the most common calls we get is like, “Hey, I want to put some cameras up. I think my employees are on their phone. Stuff isn’t getting done. I’m worried that they’re spending too much on their phone.” Whatever that may be. You can monitor that. It will certainly help determine who is on their phone and how much time they’re spending on it, but that has to go in hand with addressing your team, saying, “Things aren’t getting done. I’m concerned. What’s the cause for this?” Or if you’ve already caught people on their phone, you know, sending out a memo or a write up about whatever stage it may be. The cameras aren’t a solution to everything. 

 

Paul: No, they’re not. I would add something else to that conversation. How about you just set a set of goals and things that they have to hit? And if they’re on their phones, they’re not going to be able to hit that and you’re just going to keep putting pressure on them, and if it requires it, almost hourly. I mean, I’m being a little facetious.

 

Ally: Right.

 

Paul: But you’re going to put pressure on them to hit it and sooner or later they’re going to have to set the phone down or you’re going to be amazed that they can be on their phone and get your goals accomplished and you’re going to raise their goals. Those are just a few things to think about here. I mean, there’s that overall kind of way of thinking about things whereby people get their work done. What do we care? 

 

Ally: Right.

 

Paul:  You know? But that does not feel right to me and it does feel right to me. No, seriously, if we’re high performing, we’re killing it. I’m not looking for you to never pick up your phone and check in on social media. I’m also not looking for you to be highly responsive to me on your personal phone and then tell you you can’t be highly responsive to your spouse or one of your kids or a teacher or even, you know, someone who makes you angry on Reddit. No, wait a minute. That’s me. 

 

Ally: That’s you. Yeah. The Reddit addiction. [laughing]

 

Paul: “We’ve got to stop talking right now in this meeting because I need to respond to this person.” 

 

Ally: But yeah, like I said, all goes back to the why. There’s often other issues that you’re trying to address when wanting to put in a camera or wanting to record some audio. Just remember that that’s not the one solution for it all.

 

Paul: Yeah, and it doesn’t deter. Does not. It might work for a day or two, but in the long run remember there’s cameras everywhere. Remember that every Tesla and every Rivian and most electric cars have cameras running on them. There are thousands of hours of footage on the Internet of people walking up and kicking these cars and scratching these cars and hitting them and running away and everybody knows the damn cameras are on it. But what do they do? They still walk up to the car and break into it and get caught because there’s a camera there. There are cameras on all intersections. There are…Did speeding stop when speeding cameras went up? Did people stop running red lights? Did any of that make people stop doing it? It just got you to a point where you could catch them. By the way, everybody is listening, in Tucson, we got rid of all of that stuff. 

 

Ally: We did. 

 

Paul: We voted it right the heck out and the big argument was that the accidents were going to go up and that there were going to be…Just everything bad was going to happen because they weren’t there. By the way, none of that was true. 

 

Ally: Yeah. 

 

Paul: Yeah. It was just collecting a bunch of money from us as we were doing bad things. We’re still doing the bad things. 

 

Ally: [laughing] Yeah.

 

Paul: We’re still running the lights and doing the things. Okay, well, I think we’ve covered this subject. If I give anybody, Ally, the listeners out there and you brought it back up like four times, why are you doing this and what do you hope to accomplish from it? And there may be other methods of monitoring that are more specific to the issues that you’re trying to solve or to address than just an overall big brother. I’m watching you, therefore I know what you’re up to. 

 

Ally: Yeah, exactly. And just because I’m on the Compliance team, I am going to note: If you decide to put any of this in place, look at the laws.

 

Paul: Yeah.

 

Ally: Look at the laws please.

 

Paul: Look at the laws yourself and know that, like I said at the beginning,, once you have the policy in place and you’re doing it, the scenarios get weird very quickly. Alright everybody. Thanks for listening. What the Hell Just Happened in HR?! is that we’ve chased a couple of rabbits down the HR hole when it comes to video monitoring and especially video monitoring with sound and recording.

 

Voice Over: Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode of What the Hell Just Happened?! If you have an HR issue, question, or just want to add a comment about something Paul said, record it on your phone and send it to podcast@wthjusthappened.com. We might even ask if we can play it on the show. Don’t forget to Like and Subscribe and join us again next week.

 

Dec 4, 2023

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