Tech Job Watch Jul 13 2011

Smile for the Camera

By kelly eggers

Are you ready for your close up?

According to FINS' informal survey Sign or Decline, 58% of 256 respondents said they'd turn down their dream job if the company's CEO had a camera trained on employees.

While there are a number of reasons for the usage of closed-circuit television surveillance in offices, it could rub workers the wrong way, regardless of the reason.

"The first thing a job candidate should consider is whether or not there's a legitimate reason for the surveillance," says Nan Russell, author of Hitting Your Stride: Your Work -- Your Way. If there's a safety concern, such as the potential that you'll be alone in a store or office, or if there's a lot of in-house customer interaction, the video cameras could be in place to protect and benefit the employee, she said.

Is that all such surveillance would be used for?

"If there's a video camera there, there's potentially a belief that people -- those managing or those being managed -- aren't very trustworthy," Russell said.

According to a 2007 survey of 304 companies by the American Management Association and the E-Policy Institute, nearly half of companies use surveillance cameras to counter theft, violence and sabotage. Some 7% of those surveyed said they used video monitoring to track employee performance.

Employers that communicate the reasoning behind surveillance to staff members may satisfy some employee concerns.

"If people understand the bigger picture of why... Why do we have the cameras? How does it help us run the business? If there's an ongoing process of dialogue, employees may not view it as an invasion of privacy," said Russell.

Not all companies inform their employees of the monitoring, according to the AMA report. Of the 7% that admitted to performance-monitoring surveillance, 11% don't tell staff, and of the 48% who record to preclude theft, violence, and sabotage, 22% leave employees in the dark.

If employees feel like they're not trusted at work, they aren't trusted at work, they may become disengaged and less motivated to work hard, Russell said.



What Would You Do?

Answer the question and see how you match up with the rest of the FINS community.

You've just been offered your dream job, but... your CEO has a camera trained on you and all of your colleagues.

Sign ...or... Decline

Write to Kelly Eggers

Sign or Decline is a series of questions on FINS.com that ask what you would do for your dream job. Since its launch late last year, over 100,000 answers have been received and compiled in our database. Participate in Sign or Decline here.



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