Time Quantified Self and Employee Management

How many of you track some aspect of your life? I will wager most of you do. In exercise you measure heart rate, distance walked or run, calories burned, steps taken, even power exerted. You can record and store this information for future analysis. What if your work life was also subjected to this kind of quantification?

Quantifing self and employee management tricks

Already some quantification

There are already a lot of jobs that get quantified in some aspect. Time spent on telephone calls has long been recorded with the thought in mind of trying to reduce the amount of time an employee spends on a call while maintaining the quality of the call. Fast food restaurants measure drive through time or counter time. Many jobs lend themselves to that type of quantification. But many other jobs do not. Many jobs however, do have components that could be measured. This measurement could be used to evaluate some aspect of your performance.

Things that could be quantified

How many of you have a Fitbit or some other step activity measure? Are you using it for wellness as do most users? What if your employer were to use that data as a measure of your performance as I suggested in Future Friday: Employees habits will provide data to employers? What if your job as an HR representative required you to spend time out of your office interacting with employees? A measure taken off your movement tracker might show on an average day you walked 12,500 steps in the performance of your job, but today you only walked 3000. Does that mean you are not doing your job? Or do you have a good reason for your lack of normal activity?

How about measuring the time you spend not only on your computer, but the time you spend on individual websites? There are several applications or programs that can make that measurement. You, as an individual, can measure you time in order to monitor your personal activity and productivity, but that can also be measured by your boss to make sure you are doing your job correctly and productively.

In addition to self-worn devices, sensor embedded in the walls and ceilings can also measure activity. As Ryan Fuller, in Wired said “…people analytics technologies will provide unprecedented insights around workplace habits, including time spent in email, collaborating with others, walking to meetings and even chatting with coworkers…” Collection of this type of data will allow companies to make predictions about their workers performance. Data will lead to decisions about the people who are performing and not performing. This will allow HR to make better planning decisions. Fuller also said “Using their own internal data, companies are capable of predicting a salesperson’s quota attainment based on time spent with management and other network characteristics.”

The Quantified Self will do nothing but increase

We as individuals are increasingly measure our own activity and behavior. Additionally we are allowing more and more people to have access to that information. Combine that with an employer’s desire to better manage productivity through the use of that quantified data leads to the conclusion that are on the threshold of an explosion of the quantified self. Whether that is a good thing or not may yet remain to be seen.

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Mike Haberman

Michael (Mike) D. Haberman, SPHR is a consultant, speaker, writer of HR Observations, and co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc. After over 30 years in HR he got tired of the past and focuses here on the Future of HR. Connect with Mike.


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