Measuring worker value: the new Average is Over
This trend is accelerating:
When Jim Sullivan began working as a waiter at a Dallas restaurant a few years ago, he was being watched — not by the prying eyes of a human boss, but by intelligent software.
The digital sentinel, he was told, tracked every waiter, every ticket, and every dish and drink, looking for patterns that might suggest employee theft. But that torrent of detailed information, parsed another way, cast a computer-generated spotlight on the most productive workers.
Mr. Sullivan’s data shone brightly. And when his employer opened a fourth restaurant in the Dallas area in 2012, Mr. Sullivan was named the manager — a winner in the increasingly quantified world of work.
Here is some of what goes on behind the scenes:
Ben Waber is chief executive of Sociometric Solutions, a start-up that grew out of his doctoral research at M.I.T.’s Human Dynamics Laboratory, which conducts research in the new technologies. Sociometric Solutions advises companies using sensor-rich ID badges worn by employees. These sociometric badges, equipped with two microphones, a location sensor and an accelerometer, monitor the communications behavior of individuals — tone of voice, posture and body language, as well as who spoke to whom for how long.
Sociometric Solutions is already working with 20 companies in the banking, technology, pharmaceutical and health care industries, involving thousands of employees. The workers must opt in to have their data collected. Mr. Waber’s company signs a contract with each one guaranteeing that no individual data is given to the employer (only aggregate statistics) and that no conversations are recorded.
The article by Steve Lohr is here.