Leon Gettler from Management Line posted a couple of days ago about the grey zone in organisations ie the things you make for personal use while on company time and which companies secretly endorse. This is an interesting dilemma.
How does the HR profession react, while the issue is not new people have been calling in sick when they really are perfectly healthy for decades. For this we have use reports such as unplanned absences to see where possible issues were.
But what about employees mindlessly wasting away the day online? Do we now review reports around internet usage and track down the abusers? Do you limit personal internet time to 10 mins a day like some companies? And what about those employees who need to use the internet for their job, do we now have equity issues? Are there privacy issues with this monitoring? You notice a specific employee has been spending a lot of time on recruitment sites, how can you deal with this and keep the confidence of the employees, managers and not breach a privacy regulation? Your average HRIS/HRMS/Payroll product will not help you here.
Moving on from internet usage. The Telegraph article starts hinting at managers who spend their day building political empires for self gain and satisfaction. While they look like they are “working” are they really adding value to the organisation? Once again technology will not help you here.
Leon followed on with concept of the underemployed and how they are on the rise. I’m sure we have all seen them in the workplace. Do we start time and motion studies to hunt them down and hope the workers don’t all go on strike? Only joking.
These topics raise an interesting challenge to managers and HR departments. With the looming skills shortage how do you leverage the underemployed, how do we limit the grey zone? How do you reengage them into the workplace so that their skills can be put to use and their needs? Just getting people into the organisation will not solve the problem either. Unless they are the right people.
Yes I know it is more complex than that but it is also as simple as that. And if someone is participating in something meaningful then they are engaged, they are also more likely to be retained, less likely to be underemployed and abuse the grey zone.