Wearable Gadgets Invade Offices

Wearable Gadget

Wearable Gadgets Invade Offices


Wearable gadgets are fast finding their way into offices, eliciting diverse reactions depending on whose point of view you consider.

While employers view it as a useful tool, employees consider it an ankle bracelet.

Employees already resent micromanaging bosses to the extent that articles, several of them have been written to help those in the situation cope.

A piece of technology that could turn even the greatest of employers into micromanagers by supplying them with a detailed record of an employee’s actions, even how long they spend in the toilet, trumps it all. More self-help articles please!

With the introduction of wearable gadgets to offices, this has indeed become part of company practice.

One such gadget, the Hitachi Business Microscope, can monitor things like how workers move, where they are, who they are speaking with, and even measure how well they are communicating with others by noting how often they make hand gestures and nod, and the tone of their voice. – Wall Street Journal

Modern offices are already rife with employee privacy infringements. That this technology is frowned at by employees is thus a no-brainer.

Much of the problem lies in what is emphasized as the reason for these gadgets – “improving productivity”. Employees read that as “squeezing more and more out of us”, or even “they think we’re incompetent.”

Besides, if a company has to rely on wearable gadgets to ensure productivity, they may need to re-evaluate their business dynamics.

Productivity should be built into the core of a company’s work practices.

When an employee is always involved in tasks that are matched to his skills and career goals, whether or not they are “fun” tasks, they will perform well and contribute to the growth of the company.

Thus, while wearable gadgets may play a part in improving efficiency, creating company practices that fully utilize the skills of employees, and makes their career dynamic is the major step needed to improve employee productivity.

How Employers Can Get On The Same Page With Employees

As admitted above, wearable devices may contribute to efficiency if used correctly. But if used wrongly, they could also destroy the morale of workers and reduce business performance.

The difference lies in a company’s approach.

While I would normally resent a “digital micromanager” on me, I have to admit that if my employer’s emphasis is put in the right place, it could be acceptable.

If, for example, the sole (and honest) aim is to track my activities so avenues for professional development and improvement can be identified, with the intent of making me “more valuable” in my field, then why not.

Can you see why this would sit well with employees? It is no longer a matter of mining them for the last resource but of making them more resourceful and important.

Proof that this will be effective is seen in the results of a survey carried out by PWC. Of the 2000 respondents, 40% said that they would accept a wearable gadget at work.

But that number jumped to 56% when the purpose of the gadget was to improve their wellbeing.

Clearly, if an employer goes one up and decides to use such gadgets for professional development of employees as well, many more will be willing, and probably even happy to use it.

Along the line, a more resourceful employee would also contribute more to the success of the company, so everybody wins.

Can Employers Require Employees To Use Wearables?

The legal issues involved in the use of wearables have not been fully established.

However, it is unlikely that employers can require employees to wear them.

“Lawyers say companies would have to gain the explicit informed consent of employees before gathering personal data from wearables — and further consent to correlate it with other data, such as performance metrics.” – FT Business

Either way, it will be a terrible idea to force wearables on employees. That’s one sure way to predetermine the kind of data you get from the wearables – data that says you’ve successfully demoralized your employees.


By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support


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How To Address The Lack Of “Ready Now” Candidates For Leadership Positions

How To Address The Lack Of “Ready Now” Candidates For Leadership Positions

Employees in a row

How To Address The Lack Of “Ready Now” Candidates For Leadership Positions


If you are in human resource management or serve in a related capacity, the issue of whether to promote or hire to fill a leadership position is one you have likely faced.

And it is viewed in a good light when an organization relies more on promotion than on recruiting as this shows that the development and training structures put in place are effective enough to groom leaders.

However, a recent report reveals that many organizations lack candidates who are “ready now” for promotion to leadership roles.

The report titled “Succession Matters: Impactful Leadership Development and Accelerated Readiness”, is third in the series of a global study commissioned by executive recruitment and management group Korn Ferry and performed by Hanover Research.

Approximately 50% of the respondents said that their organization lacks a concrete channel for developing and delivering “ready now” candidates to fill leadership positions.

Many companies thus resort to recruiting instead of promoting when a leadership position needs to be filled. In fact, “43% of C-suite positions are filled from the outside.” – Korn Ferry Study



1. Nonspecific Development: Many organizations do not focus on the unique development of employees with relation to their goals and potential leadership duties and challenges.

“Oftentimes, leaders spend a good part of their careers participating in standard development programs that aren’t customized to their specific needs, which significantly hinders the fulfillment of their true potential being reached.” – Korn Ferry Study

2. Lack of Adequate and Personalized Experience Opportunities: Experience remains the best way to learn, yet most organizations do not provide enough experience and development opportunities.

Worse yet, the opportunities provided follow a general standard that has no real emphasis on building up a particular employee so he can take on a leadership role.



1. Start Development Early in An Employee’s Career: From the very onset, an employee’s career should have a defined growth path. Employees should be exposed to challenging experiences right from the beginning so their aptitude for decision making can be identified.

“With careful planning much earlier on in a person’s career, organizations can ensure that leaders gain the experiences that truly matter for future success at advanced levels,” stresses Stu Crandell, Senior Vice President of Global Offerings at Korn Ferry and the Korn Ferry Institute.

2. Make Development and Experience Opportunities Unique to The Skills and Goals of Each Employee: Once an employee’s skills and experience have been identified and recorded, development plans need to be designed around them and in relation to their leadership goals.

3. Use a Skills Tracking and Goal Management System: The first two steps may lack structure and direction if there is no way to track the skills and experience of each unique employee.

A skill tracking system stores a current list of an employee’s proficiencies and experience. If this system also incorporates goal management, weaving skills and experience into the development process becomes a simple task.

“Your decisions will only be as strong as your data.” – Korn Ferry Study

If you already use Skills DB Pro for skills management, one easy way to create unique career plans is with the Competency and Goal Management System. With it, you can compare the current skills and experience of an employee with what is required for a leadership role and easily Identify gaps.

Skills DB Pro Competency Chart
Skills DB Pro Report Chart Showing Employee Competency Compared with Requirements of Their Current Job Title

Once gaps have been identified, you can then add the employee to scheduled trainings to bridge these gaps, using our training module.

Skills DB Pro has recently gone one step further. We are currently beta testing an Individual Development Plans (IDP) module, and the name says it all. We will publish a blog on this feature when it becomes available to all our users.

If you use any other Skills Management System but do not yet know if goal management is part of it. You may want to read their documentation or contact the providers.

If you haven’t used a skill and goal management system at all, our 45-day free trial is a great place to start.


By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support

Into The ‘Outer Space’ of Company Dynamics – Companies Without Managers

Business Man in Space


Into The ‘Outer Space’ of Company Dynamics – Companies Without Managers


I was searching the internet for new trends in business management a while ago, and as often is the case, my search turned up a few good reads.

But nothing caught my attention as much as the story about a few companies that have embraced or plan to embrace a system of ‘management’ that discards the role of ‘managers.’

Initially, it all sounded very ludicrous. However, as I learned more about this approach, ludicrousness quickly faded and was replaced with me thinking “this might actually work.”

Contrary to my expectation, this approach was not the spur of the moment thought of a bored company executive. Rather, it is already quite established, with its own name (Holacracy), a dedicated website, and a few companies that have implemented it, and apparently have a lot of good things to say about it.

Zappos, one of the listed companies, made the headlines recently when they told their employees to go Holacratic, or go home.

The Shoe Retailing Company has been experimenting with the Holacratic system of management for some time now. And since April 30th, has apparently adopted it as a companywide system.

What is Holacracy?

The following definition is copied directly from the Website

“Holacracy is a new way of running an organization that removes power from a management hierarchy and distributes it across clear roles, which can then be executed autonomously, without a micromanaging boss. The work is actually more structured than in a conventional company, just differently so. With Holacracy, there is a clear set of rules and processes for how a team breaks up its work, and defines its roles with clear responsibilities and expectations.”

Team Work
Self Management and Team Work are Emphasized in Holacracy

Frankly, this sounds interesting, but it also raises some questions, most of them related to the very foundation of this system – the absence of managers.

For example, among many other duties, managers are there to ensure the people working under them are putting in their best.

With self-management, there is the tendency that workers may not perform as well as they should. However, Zappos’ CEO, Tony Hsieh already has his eyes fixed on solutions to this potential problem.

Hsieh Says:

“I was on a Skype call with Frederic Laloux, the author of Reinventing Organizations. During our call, he said …………… we need to figure out what the antibodies are for when a small number [of] employees take advantage of the freedom gained from being in a no-manager organization, or else it will demoralize the other employees. He said that in general, research has shown that peer-pressure based systems work the best. For certain types of job functions where there are easy metrics to measure performance, a public leaderboard ranking will naturally create peer pressure by showing which teams are performing and which aren’t.”

Evidently, Zappos is being proactive as they implement this new, not fully tested approach for company management.

How self-management will turn out for the handful of companies who have implemented it, we cannot really say for now. But with the proactive, problem solving approach with which Zappos is taking this on, it will not be surprising if it actually turns out to be the gold standard for them, and for other companies who may then decide to put on their ‘shoes.’


By: Mesheal Fegor
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