Employees points of view, opinions, and feedback have been a precious object of desire for the Human Resources departments of many companies. In some companies, they really debate internally between knowing the truth, or hearing what they want to hear, and there’s no denying that there have been (and still are) cases where workplace climate surveys were supposedly anonymous, and actually came with names and last names.
Companies are anxious to get accurate information about the opinions of its employees. Now a new way of gathering feedback from employees is upon us, and yes: many will not hesitate to describe it as (very) intrusive.
From the supermarket shelves to the work office table
We have already talked to you about technologies that spy on you from the shadow of the hypermarket lines, and measure one’s behavior and facial expressions when looking at various products. The objective is to know the precise moment when you feel tempted to buy a product.
And the intention is to know when you go to the checkout without having placed one of those tempting products in your shopping cart. They want to know in order to “Re-target” you, and offer you discount coupons or a personalized offer so that you end up buying that product.
Now these technologies, developed in the heat of the most directed consumerism, have been rediscovered for other planes of our lives and our socioeconomies.
The employee and his emotions as a goal of Human Resources
Workplace climate surveys have existed for years. Similarly, for decades, there has been the intention of some human departments to know who thinks what, transgressing the supposed anonymity of such surveys. A few decades ago, when these surveys were done in the omnipresent paper, the case of a Bank that applied a chemical solution to the surveys completed by its employees was well known, and the name and surnames of the person who filled them in came to light. (since previously they had been sent anonymously).
Nowadays, the techniques of “deanonimization” have evolved a lot. But the problem in these cases is the sincerity with which the employee completes the survey form. It is not a trivial problem, since every employee has his fears and suspicions about it. But the company wants the truth. The solution to this fear-sincerity equation comes with biometrics.
The solution of the small business Big Brother
It was through an article by the state information and scientific news agency SINC that I learned about this new biometric system for “monitoring” the emotions of large-scale employees within a company. It reports on how researchers have illuminated a new technology to recognize the motivation of employees.
This technology is based on the famous Maslow’s pyramid, in honor of what has been called “Maslow 4.0”. As you may have imagined, the technology is based on the measurement and processing of biological and biometric signals from employees, and for this purpose, it uses an electrocardiogram sensor and several cameras that measure the emotions in the image of your face.
This technology is powered by the data provided by an electrocardiogram or ECG, a digital imaging system, a software for processing biological signals, other facial recognition software and human emotions based on gestural expressions. All these data are taken to an external server and all the information of the different sensors is processed, to subsequently show the results expected by the Human Resources Director: basically, the motivational map of each employee. Something they could not even dream of just a few decades ago.
The added value of this technology with respect to traditional solutions, is the veracity of data collected directly from employees, without its filter of suspicion before a survey. The great added value comes from the fact that, with this solution, you can collect information from each employee continuously and in real time, allowing you to act quickly before a potentially harmful situation, and preventively long before they degenerate and pollute the general work environment of the company.
We are all human: the higher order needs of an employee
Maslow’s pyramid is based on a hierarchy of a sequential order defined for human needs. At the base, the most basic or most basic needs are located. Those that every individual feels a more urgent need to cover. These types of needs may include food, safety, or sexual relations.
Once the primary needs are met, other, higher-level needs arise, but for which the individual only cares about them on a secondary level, once the most basic ones are satisfied. Examples include social relations, friendship, recognition, reaffirmation, and many others, more typical of the higher order intelligence that the human being possesses.
The typical needs of an individual with respect to their work environment, are usually framed within the higher order, and range from creativity, recognition, professional development, the sense of progression, self-improvement etc…These needs and their identification are what Human Resources Departments strive to measure and understand, and therefore it is essential to measure the emotions that can help them do so.
The turnover of employees who decide to leave the company is closely related to the dissatisfaction of these needs. There is also the fact that a worker who has these needs covered will be more productive, contribute to create a better working environment, be motivated, feel fulfilled, better serve internal and/or external customers, etc.
To hide one’s own emotions is a skill that not all people have. In fact, in our work environments, for a common worker, the most difficult thing to manage precisely are the fears of his boss: since undoubtedly exert strong influence on the relationship with his subordinates.
This great difficulty to interpret those often impassive faces of managers, now also becomes a necessary capacity for those employees who want to conserve their privacy and their thoughts. If you don’t want your synaptic connections in the form of personal reactions to be Xrayed, you better learn to disguise your emotions. Only in this way will the Maslow 4.0 system return a resigned message of “without significant gestural emotions.” Only then will you be safe.
The truth is that HR decisions are sometimes so unpredictable for ordinary mortals that the less you know about them the better.