Just because you can, does not mean that you should track employees

Just because you can, does not mean that you should track employees
Image Credit: Gabriel Garcia Marengo

As the person with the CIO job, you have a great deal of power that comes with your assignment dealing with importance of information technology. The big question that you always need to be dealing with is just exactly how should you go about using this power? A great example of this has to do with the wave of so called “wearables” that are only now starting to enter the workplace. These clever little computers that people adorn their bodies with are neat, but they bring with them some sticky questions about just exactly what you can do with all of that data.

The Challenge Of Knowing Where Everyone Is

So just exactly how did we get into the situation that we currently find ourselves in? It turns out that a new breed of company has shown up, FitBit and Apple being two of the most popular, and they are now offering wearable products to their customers. If a customer purchase one of these products they can put them on their wrists, turn them on, and their every movement both during the day and while they sleep at night will be monitored and recorded. Fancy software can then tell the wearer how many calories they burned during a day, how many steps they took, and what their heart rate was at any point during the day. This is great information for those of us who are trying to lose a few pounds, but what happens if our companies get their hands on this data?

Sharing this type of data with our employer is exactly what is starting to happen. The thinking goes like this. The company that provides your company with health insurance is very interested in making sure that you are living an active, healthy lifestyle. They are so interested that they are willing to pay you to do it. That means that if you are willing to share your wearable data with them and provide them with proof that you are being active, then they will be willing to sell you health insurance at a lower price because they believe that you will be healthier. This all sounds fine and dandy, but then what happens if someone gets passed over for a promotion and the person who gets the promotion is more active than they are – did their wearable data play a role in their promotion?

The one thing that the person in the CIO position does not want to have happen is for the company to get into any potential legal or ethical headaches that might come along with collecting data on employees health. Any sort of employee tracking plans always have to be strictly optional on the part of the employee. As the employer, you would probably not want to be handling the employee tracking data and so this might be a good task to hand off to a third party. Any data that the company received from this company would of course have to be anonymized..

What To Say When You Know Too Much

All of this medical monitoring and collecting of health data on employees can land a CIO into hot water. A case in point would be if the monitored data shows that an employee is currently doing poorly on tracked activity measures, what’s a CIO to do? The CIO will have to determine if they want to start a conversation with this employee in order to determine if they are dealing with a disability.

You might be thinking that this is something that you could just let go if the employee does not speak up about it. However, you’d be wrong. Past legal precedent has shown that companies that have enough information to recognize a problem are obligated to take action. If you don’t do anything and yet you have an employee’s detailed activity log, then you are going to be hard pressed to be able to show ignorance of the employee’s disability.

There can be other situations where data may become available to the company that the employee may not have. A retina scanner could possibly detect the onset of diabetes. In a case like this, you will have to determine if you feel that you have an obligation to inform your employees. The good news here is that you probably do not have an obligation to test for such conditions. Clearly the arrival of wearables in the workplace is going to have a dramatic impact on the employee / employer relationship.

What All Of This Means For You

CIOs already have a lot of challenges on their hands. However, it is starting to look like they are going to have one more shortly. “Wearables” or small computers that are built into clothing or jewelry are starting to show up in the workplace. These devices track employees and produce a great deal of data. What’s a CIO to do?

Wearables can track a number of different things all at once. In addition to knowing where your employees are at all times, they can also keep track of number of steps walked, heart rate, etc. This information can be valuable to health insurance companies who are willing to offer employees a discount if they are living an active healthy life. However, as CIO you need to make sure that there is not a legal downside to acquiring this data. Often times you want to get a 3rd party firm to handle all of the tracking data and only provide you data without any trackable components. A big challenge for any CIO and company can occur when you have enough data to determine that a monitored employee may have a health problem. You’ll need to decide if you will inform them or not.

Privacy concerns aside, wearables are becoming more and more popular. What this means for CIOs is that you are going to have to be making some decisions about what you want to do with all of that data sooner rather than later. Be careful to not violate any worker privacy issues and you can help your employees to become more healthy as you manage their data.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that keeping track of where employees are at during working hours is a violation of privacy?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Implementing a cyber-defense system for your company sure sounds like a good thing for the person with the CIO job to do. Just exactly what does that mean? I guess you purchase and install tools that will allow you to detect if the bad guys are able to get in, you create policies for what various people are supposed to do if this happens, and you make sure that your most precious assets are safely hidden away even if the bad guys get in. Putting all of this together is good, but how do you know if it will work? Sounds like it might be time to go have a talk with the military.

{ 0 comments }

Should CIOs Learn How To Forgive?

by drjim on May 10, 2017

To forgive is divine, but is this something that CIOs should be doing?

To forgive is divine, but is this something that CIOs should be doing?
Image Credit: timlewisnm

Ah, the process of getting older. Each one of us is doing this every day and, with a little luck, we really don’t spent all that much time thinking about it. However, with increasing age comes more time for us to think about all of the things that have happened to us during our lives. We start to review our lives and there’s a very good chance we might not like everything that we see. What’s the person with the CIO job to do?

It’s All About Forgiveness

As we spend more and more time thinking about what has gone on during our lives as we become older, we are naturally going to be drawn to both the good things and the bad things. There’s no problem thinking about all the good things that have happened to you – spend as much time thinking about them as you want! However, it’s the bad things that can start to eat away at us. Assuming that nobody has forgiven anyone else, then as we think about the bad things that either have been done to us or that we have done to others, we’ll replay them over and over in our minds.

This fixation on wrongs is going to generate feelings of anger or remorse in us. The end result of these feelings will either be bitterness on our part or even poor health. This is an area that the researchers have spent a lot of time studying. What they have discovered is that the more that we dwell on wrongs that have occurred in our lives, the more lonely and isolated we are going to make ourselves. The results of this is going to be that we’re going to experience increased health problems and, ultimately a higher mortality rate.

Spending time dwelling on the wrongs that have been done to us and that we’ve done to others is considered to be a form of cutting off the air to your emotional self. The end result will be that resentment and bottled up anger will start to have an impact on your overall health. The physical effects of not having forgiveness in your live can range from depression, anxiety, higher blood pressure, and a greater risk of having a heart attack. The secret to making this all go away is to allow forgiveness to enter your life. Forgiveness allows you to spend your time focusing on relationships and more positive thoughts.

Just Exactly How Do You Forgive?

You would think that this forgiveness thing would be the same for everyone; however, that’s where you would be wrong. It turns out that forgiving is more beneficial for women than for men. As always, the specific situation that forgiveness is being given in can have an impact on this. When women forgive others, it has a positive impact on their health. It can help to prevent depression. This benefit occurred even when women feel as though they are not being forgiven by the other person. This was in contrast with men who ended up feeling worse when they forgave someone, but did not feel as though that person had forgiven them.

Although it sure sounds like seeking and giving forgiveness would be a good thing to do for both parties, as we are all too painfully aware this does not always happen. If the event that caused the problem was severe or in the case that the other party shows no remorse. You will not be able to forgive the other party if they have not at least tried to make meaningful amends or if they simply are not sorry. Unfortunately, if you find yourself in a situation like this, you can be left feeling both hatred towards the other party and hurting.

If you find yourself in this kind of situation, then you can take a different approach. An alternative way to help you get through this situation is to use a different approach called “acceptance”. When you use acceptance, you decide to move on from what happened on your own terms. You do need to recognize the size of the transgression, but at the same time you have to decide to no longer be obsessed by the unfairness of what happened. You are in control and so this means that you get to choose the level of relationship that you want to have with the offender. To accomplish this, all it takes is you – the other party does not have to participate.

What All Of This Means For You

As the person in the CIO position, you make a lot of decisions regarding the importance of information technology, you interact with a lot of people, and as you get older you may end up having a lot of regrets. As you dwell on the things that have happened in your life, you may find yourself going over and over the times that you were wronged or when you wronged someone.

Clearly, this is not a good thing. Thinking about injustices that have either been done to you or that you’ve done will just eat at you. They can make you bitter and they can have a negative impact on your health. A much better strategy is to try to forgive someone who has wronged you. For women, this can have positive health benefits even if they other person is not sorry. For men, it will have negative health benefits if the other person is not sorry. If the other person is not willing to forgive you, then you may want to use acceptance to define how you want to feel about the event and what type of relationship you want to have with the person no matter how they feel about you.

We may not think about forgiveness every day, but it turns out that it is a powerful force. If we neglect those events in our life that are causing us to feel badly, then they will wear at us and will have a negative impact on our lives. Using forgiveness, or at least acceptance, can allow us to once again take charge of our lives and feel as though we are again in control of our lives.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: If someone else asks you for forgiveness and you don’t feel like forgiving them, what should you do?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As the person with the CIO job, you have a great deal of power that comes with your assignment dealing with importance of information technology. The big question that you always need to be dealing with is just exactly how should you go about using this power? A great example of this has to do with the wave of so called “wearables” that are only now starting to enter the workplace. These clever little computers that people adorn their bodies with are neat, but they bring with them some sticky questions about just exactly what you can do with all of that data.

{ 0 comments }

Can A CIO Make The Company More Successful By Sharing?

May 3, 2017

As the person with the CIO job, you are sitting on a mountain of data about your company’s customers. Every time they purchase your product, call your support department, or even just visit your website because you understand the importance of information technology you collect more and more data about them and about what they […]

Read the full article →

Could Electronic Signatures Not Be Telling The Truth?

April 26, 2017

As the person with the CIO job, one of your ongoing responsibilities is to always be looking for ways to streamline how the company operates. We all know about the importance of information technology and that if applied correctly, we can take multi-step time consuming tasks and turn them into quick and efficient online processes. […]

Read the full article →

What Does The “Internet Of Things” Mean For CIOs?

April 19, 2017

If you’ve had the opportunity to pick up just about any IT trade journal lately you have undoubtedly seen an article or two talking about this new thing called the “Internet of things”. What the authors are talking about is the simple fact that because we are currently Internet enabling so many different devices from […]

Read the full article →

Does A CIO Run A Democracy?

April 5, 2017

Ah, the burdens of leadership rest heavily on your shoulders. As the person with the CIO job, it’s your responsibility to collect all of the available data, process it, and then make the best decisions that you can. With a little luck, your decisions will be the right ones most of the time based on […]

Read the full article →

Social Media Secrets That All CIOs Need To Know

March 29, 2017

I’m thinking that by now we can all agree that social media is important. However, how to go about using it correctly is a bit of a mystery. Every company wants to make the most of the free service that each of the different social media channels offers, but the challenge is that they are […]

Read the full article →

Does How You Look Really Matter?

March 22, 2017

When you go into the office, how do you dress? Do you put on a suit, find just the right tie, and make sure that your shoes are polished? Or do you slide on that pair of jeans that you’ve been wearing for a couple of years now, grab the shirt that’s hanging over the […]

Read the full article →

Why CIOs Have To Worry About Their Company Being Disrupted

March 15, 2017

As CIOs because of the importance of information technology it can be all too easy for us to put our heads down and focus on the issues that are right in front of us: securing the network, upgrading workstations, and building new data centers. However, one thing that can be just a little bit too […]

Read the full article →

CIOs Are Discovering That Containers Might Be The Right Way To Ship Code

March 8, 2017

As the person with the CIO job, you’ve generally got a lot on your mind. You’ve got budget issues, staffing issues, working with other department issues and everything else that has to do with the importance of information technology. You really don’t have a lot of control over these things. However, there are some issues […]

Read the full article →