Surveillance Cameras for Team Management?

Be a manager, not a spy

We’ve come a long way in numerous areas of technology, and I believe we all appreciate what these advancements have accomplished to assist in enabling us to work more efficiently and effectively. 

Surveillance cameras in the workplace offer many applications. Some great uses would be observing patients in treatment rooms to be sure they are comfortable, and perhaps giving the doctor and team the ability to see patients enter the practice so that they can be properly greeted if the team is spread throughout the practice.  

The ability to check the office afterhours and watch for any questionable behavior while the evening cleaning crew go about their work.  I can even see the value of these cameras for the doctor who might want to quickly see the location of team members during the workday. The entire team should be informed that they are present and why well before they are even installed. There are no doubt advantages to surveillance monitors, but I do have concerns when it comes to using them for a different purpose—that is to secretly observe the team. 

I fear that many see this as a way of “managing” one’s team. Utilizing such a system to check in surreptitiously and, wellbasically spy on what they are doing (or not doing). 

Prior to integrating team members into a practice, I would hope that not only would there be a thorough interview process in place, but that every team member is properly vetted via background checks, drug tests and fully educated as to what is expected of them should they join the practice.  As always, this should be in the form of a well-defined, comprehensive document that is spelled out in detail, approved by the perspective team member and then signed off by them.   

We talk about trust.  We hire “trusting” that this new team member is going to be honorable, loyal, honest, reliable and represent your practice in a professional manner.  If these personal attributes are not present at the hire and during the 3-month integration period, then chances are you will not be witnessing these important qualities at the end of 3 months.  The trust between the employer and employee is critical to a respectful and reciprocal business relationship.  If there are any concerns and or doubt in the mind of the employer that an employee cannot be trusted, then chances are they should not be maintained as an employee in the first place.  

So, the very important point I am trying to make is that I don’t ever want surveillance cameras to serve as a substitute for proper team management.  I have personally viewed the fallout that can occur from quietly and secretively installing this equipment without sharing the fact that they have been placed in order to help us all to better manage patients, business operations, and monitor the premises when we are not here.  With the many advantages that come with technology, the one thing technology cannot manage is “people” This requires human involvement. 

Please don’t make surveillance cameras or secretive phone monitoring a segment of your team management protocols. Texting “I’ll be late today” or “I’m home sick” will never replace a phone call to inform management of this information. And the “I quit” text is unconscionable, and is NEVER appropriate.  

Let’s start talking more, openly share, lead with a transparent mindset in the hopes that we can learn to trust each other and regain old business values. 

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