Friday, March 31, 2006

Where do we draw the line?

If a survey conducted for staffing and consulting firm Hudson Highland Group Inc. is to be believed, about 25% of U.S. employees who use a computer at work admit using it to hunt for a new job on company time.

"It's one of the ways employees deal with work-life balance issues," said Robert Morgan, chief operating officer at Hudson Talent Management, one of the company's divisions. "Because we're spending so much time at work, that's the only time we have to schedule some of those appointments."

Here's my take on the entire situation:

Until such time when all parties recognised that employer-employee relationship is not a one-way traffic, analysing such data will be a futile exercise and will only serve to alienate the subject being examined. With advances in communications and computing, we need to realise there is an increasing demand/obligation on workers performing work outside of the routine work hours. Where do we draw the line here? One cannot just give and don't take; neither can one take and don't give.

More disconcerting is that when people look at such data, they do not attempt to find out why this is taking place. Instead, they rely on anecdotal evidence to draw their own conclusions. Even without extensive studies of behavioural science, one must question whether there is something fundamentally wrong with the organisation for its people to be constantly looking out for other opportunities.

Or as Morgan puts it: "What employers really need to focus their efforts on is why are people looking for a job, versus trying to get them to stop them from looking for it at work."

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