A method to detect employees who waste time

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by entelecheia, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. entelecheia Registered Senior Member


    This could be more a question about motivation; however, my curiosity and skepticism on the reliability of psychology raised the posibility of find an electronic method.

    Googling i found nothing but a device called: Employee Monitoring Mobile spy (I hope will not be banned by considering it a commercial advertising)

    Some details:

    Employees in many companies are apt to spend their office hours chatting with their friends and families with company owned phones rather than promoting their business or making business calls. Mobile spy software records every activity on the phone, containing received and dialed calls. With the aid of mobile spy, employers can know the usage of the mobile. Besides, bosses can know how long the employees spent on their private calls because mobile spy tracks the call time.

    A case i found interesting:

    Two employees where gabbing with one another. One took a call. He listened patiently to the customers who gave a detailed description of an item….The customer wanted to know if a item was in stock. He said, “Yes. I’ll check.” and put the call on hold. Without so much as a check against a computer for the item, he continued his insipid conversation with the other employee. About 30 seconds later, he picked up the phone and said that they were out of stock.

    The employee then explained his technique of never checking to see if things were really in stock:

    “Yeah. That’s what I do. When someone calls looking for something, I don’t check. I put them on hold for 30 seconds and tell them we’re out.”

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  3. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    The only real way to safeguard against something like that is to have employees that actually give a rats rear end about their job. This can be accomplished any number of ways, but paying a fair wage is a good start. Benefits or other niceties help. Some kind of employee engagement (be it sponsored events, competitions with incentives, etc) can aid this. In general, a company that has employees who can police (and even better, train, coach, and correct any bad behaviors) themselves is a company that is VERY likely to succeed.
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  5. entelecheia Registered Senior Member

    I absolutely agree.
    however, could be exceptions, for example employees with antisocial personality disorder.
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  7. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    The basic idea is that someone who's considered nice is most likely a decent employee. And instead of having to deal with the problem after-the-fact (which is what your OP is about), eliminate the majority of it at the very start - BEFORE they become an employee.
  8. entelecheia Registered Senior Member

    Some people are skilful enough to pretend to be 'nice', or 'perfect' while the boss is present. Specially when they are skilful to modulate their voices and use the resource 'stone face' zero micro gestures.

    If you're claiming that your method can unmask someone who has the classic triad: histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder, I doubt it.
  9. entelecheia Registered Senior Member

    Maybe i'm being too speculative. But science is about to disentangle the arcane and the improbable. The individual could do it secretly while no one is observing it. He could delete e-mail requests, pick up the phone and said that x item is out of stock, etc.
  10. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    There's a number of points to be made there:
    For instance secretly recording employee's isn't a particular good way of getting employee's to behave in the workplace, it's usually only a tactic to escalate grounds for an employee's dismissal, which will likely end with a potential tribunal if the usage of such surveillance isn't identified to the employee through their contract agreement.

    If a boss doesn't want people to waste their time in idle gossip, then they have to consider that perhaps there is too much idletime existent. This doesn't necessarily mean increasing the workload to keep people busy, as sometimes this idling is actually caused by the uncomfortable fact that not everyone is fully trained in dealing with the level of workload existent. It can cause employee's to shutdown in regards to being motivated on the task, using "idling" as an escape method from not being able to do the job.

    What a boss would have to consider doing is looking at better training methods and team building exercises. After all most businesses require multiple people functioning correctly together to work as a single organism and that requires teamwork. teamwork isn't just about pointing out jobs to people and getting it done, it's about rallying a team to deal with situations where some of the individuals of that time might have weaknesses , working around those weaknesses and emphasise using what strengths they have.

    Incidentally team building exercises (like company excursions) can be a handy way of reducing idle chatter, after all if a companies staff have all been away for a week or two together climbing mountains or riding rapids etc, they will have all shared a communal experience that while they will reflect on it, doesn't need to be explained or talked about in full. (in other words they run out of things to talk about, so get on with the work)
  11. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    The key word in your reply is "some." With a little effort, the company can also find a *highly*-skilled interviewer to handle the initial phase with the applicant who can spot the very things you've listed.
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    In companies whose employees routinely deal with the public, it's common for them to have people who call in and pretend to be customers. They sample the expertise and attitudes of the staff.

    The fellow who did this would be out the door within two weeks.

    They're not even looking for something so nefarious. They just want to find out if their employees need more training, if they have a stocking problem, if the wait time is too long and they need more operators, if they should expand their product line, if it's time to hire some people who speak Spanish, Arabic, Russian, etc.
  13. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    I think employees should waste time. Companies go to all sort of trouble to eliminate cubicles and get people interacting with each other, these sorts of informal meetings are often the source of innovative ideas. If I thought an employer was counting the minutes I talk to someone or surf the internet, I would leave.
  14. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    I agree with Spidey on this point.

    An unstructured informal free - ranging group discussion is optimal for originating novel and creative concepts. Those concepts can then be instantiated and tested.

    Gossip and similar unofficial social interactions can move an individual toward their career and personal goals.

    The better group members know each other the less likely an individual is to exhibit unexpected behavior.
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    In his book Slack, Tom DeMarco explains why employees should have a fair amount of spare time. As I wrote in an article in 2001, warning of the problems caused by the unreported and unpaid overtime that was rampant in the IT industry in those days:

    In his latest book, Slack, Tom DeMarco expands on the concept of protective capacity. “Slack” is the capacity at the organizational level to do entirely new things. His view of IT shops and other American knowledge-intensive organizations is:

    "There isn’t time to plan, only to do. No time for analysis, invention or strategic thinking. The very improvements that the Hurry-Up organization has made to go faster and cheaper have undermined its capacity to make any other kind of change. Organizations tend to get more efficient only by sacrificing their ability to change."​

    Using all of a company’s resources at full capacity or beyond is a short-term strategy that leaves it unprepared to deal with long-term issues and may bring about its demise.​
  16. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Two possible solutions:
    1. Sack him. or
    2. Introduce a better incentive scheme.

    Probably best to try 2 first.

    I once worked for a company in which they brought in a scheme where most items gained commission, but a few items didn't.
    Some people wouldn't sell the non-commission items AT ALL.
    If asked, they denied they existed.
    Were they poor salespeople? General bad attitude?
    Not really.
    The company changed the payment scheme and they were fine.
  17. entelecheia Registered Senior Member

    The business i manage can't afford people who call and pretend to be customers. Also, an employee couldn't remember and suspect ofthese few voices that never buy anything?

    Are you saying that The employee who explained ''his technique'' of never checking to see if things were really in stock behaved in such way due to any/some/all of these deficiences: -need more training, -need a better incentive scheme -they have a stocking problem, -they need more operators, -it's time to hire some people who speak Spanish, Arabic, Russian, etc?

    If those two employees were complicit, they could not use ''that technique'' forever?
    Maybe not the best surveillance cameras could resolve the problem, if the inventory is abundant, not neatly organized, and the products they choose are exotic and often sold very little...
  18. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Those people might be incorrigible and lazy, but they are more likely to be trainable.
    The majority of people want to do a good days work.
    Most businesses use targets, incentives, training, test-shopping, and watching.
    If you can only use one, then perhaps targets are best.
    You need to praise good performance.
    Praise is more effective than blame, which demotivates.

    The only effective punishment as regards training is pain, and that's illegal.

    If someone is persistently lazy, then dismissal is the answer.
    But it is the last alternative.
  19. entelecheia Registered Senior Member

    Imagine that two employees are the result of universitary frustration, no dreams, no expectations; maybe terrible wounds in their family memories. All these ingrdients combined could slowly twist their minds 'til the darkest abyss of Sadistic Golemy (from the hebrew Golem). Machines addicted to discover new methods to 'parasite' the business. Their maximal gratification: the bankrupcy of the business. Authentic parasitic intelligences...
  20. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Sack 'em.
    But it's half your own fault, employing them in the first place.
    Recruit better next time.
  21. entelecheia Registered Senior Member

    My own fault?, was you read the book Snakes in Suits : When Psychopaths Go to Work?
    How to unmask a snake during the job interview?

    I'm still thinking the only method to fully control Perpetual Parasitism is an electronic one
  22. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Psychopaths often end up running the company.
  23. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member


    You are wasting your time.
    If people won't work, and you have used all the means at your disposal to train and encourage them. get rid of them.
    They are parasites.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013

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