Video is ubiquitous in our society today. We are on camera nearly all the time, whether we are aware of it or not.
I’ll be driving to the airport this morning to catch a flight from Orlando to San Antonio. I’m on camera as I leave my neighborhood gate. I’m on camera at the ATM machine while I grab my $100 cash for travel incidentals. A camera flashes my license plate number as I merge on to the tollway to head over to Starbucks, where I’m on camera as I order at the drive-thru.
We’re all actors on the stage of life, and it’s being filmed.
The same thing happens in the workplace. There are cameras throughout your workplaces. As an HR practitioner, have you considered the following items:
Who’s in charge of the cameras? What are they being used for? Does anyone in the HR function have access or audit privileges?
I worked with a manager once who had a closed circuit system in his office where he could observe various work areas in his facility at any time. He could record video and edit it to some extent. He used this is a means of staying in touch with what was going on in a large facility. He eventually left our organization after serious labor relations issues developed, mostly stemming back to his management style. It was at that point that the “keys” to the video observation system were turned over to a different organization.
It’s not usually the tool that can make something go wrong, it’s how the tool is used. If you have CCTV in your workplace, think about a few things:
- Where are the cameras located?
- Who has access?
- What are the chances that managers are using the cameras to observe employees in inappropriately?