Gabazira's blog

The Effectiveness-Lab

When employees act like encrypted smartphones – series 1 of 2

Well, let us be blunt on this one. Don’t managers all over the world grapple with this dilemma – how to get maximum productivity from their employees.  Managers, the good ones at that, will know that apart from the employees’ virtual or physical presence at work, managers aren’t always in control of what is going on inside the souls and minds of the employees. Yet, what goes on inside the employee affects the firm’s productivity.  

You have the choice to appropriately access me or hack

In an increasingly complex, fast-moving/changing and competitive business environment, every ounce of employee productivity counts.  Sadly, managers not schooled well in matters people, continue to push employees against the wall. Pushed against the wall, employees have no choice but to behave like well designed but violated smartphones – play encryption and get scrambled! 

There are no boundaries to this problem in modern corporations, and no entity is too big to fail in this area. We see a bit of this problem in the highest office in the USA.  Apparently, employees have encrypted and scrambled with many moving on –  staff turnover, 34%

So, what are employee encryption and scrambling?

Smartphone encryption is concealing phones to prevent unauthorised access.  Most smartphones have some kind of protection from unauthorised access.  To get access to your phone, you need a password. For newer phones like the iPhone X, you need your face. And save for the very few identical twins, your look is unique to you, and so, only you can open your iPhone X.  

This is how encryption or phone protection works. When your phone is not accessible or locked, your phone’s content remains encrypted until you enter a password or show your face.  When you enter the correct password or show the right face, your phone and content are auto-decrypted to give you a display and access to your phone’s content.  Smartphones re-lock themselves after a period of inactivity.

Therefore, like smartphones, even employees have a circuit and are wired to think and work in a specific manner.  Employees can scramble and unscramble content that is written inside them, especially the brain and heart.  Employees achieve a state of maximum productivity and value creation for the firm when the human circuitry is seamlessly at full load and flow. 

The employee circuit is at full load and flow when the human brain and heart are voluntarily decrypted and unscrambled.   There can’t be gaps and spaces between the boss/organisation and the employee.  These are matters of the heart and soul and not Frederick Taylor reductionist tendencies

While managers have the choice to seamlessly unscramble employees,  get to know their inside and position the organisation to maximise employee productivity.  Many choose to do things another way – coercion.  It’s akin to hacking a smartphone  

What about hacking? Well, we should have mentioned at the start that, even without the right password or face,  there is another way to get into a smartphone – and that is by hacking. Hacking is manipulation of phone systems to gain unauthorised access.  Hackers exploit vulnerabilities to gain access.  

Even encryption can be beaten after all.  Apparently, American law enforcement has found a way to hack one of the more secure smartphones, the iPhone.   Similarly, managers, unable to rightfully get into the inside of their employees, may opt to hack them

The employee encryption dilemma:

We wonder why managers don’t pay enough attention to this vital subject of human circuitry and productivity maximisation.  Why would a manager want to hack their employees as opposed to gaining rightful and seamless access?

Yes, it’s right to be efficient – and by fronting efficiency, managers are tempted to achieve productivity by the quickest/cheapest means possible, whatever the damage to the human souls that work for them. But, companies accrue higher value-creation and sustainability by upping the ante for human effectiveness drivers. And nothing at the modern corporation has the influence on productivity, as humans being effective at what they do. 

The dilemma is how to manage the yin-yang relationship between effectiveness and efficiency astutely.  And not many managers have a clue how human (and not process) effectiveness can be gotten and sustained

We specifically chose the smartphone encryption analogy because humans beings, in this case, employees, can encrypt and decrypt themselves just like smartphones.  It’s up to the employer, the manager, in this case, to create the: (i) environment, (ii) systems (iii) and culture to get seamless access to the inside of a particular employee or team.  

An appropriate people sensitive environment, systems, and culture are the key or password to human decryption. When the employees scramble themselves and prevent access to their brain and heart, the managers deploy the three passwords to unscramble the employee. 

Classic managers don’t want empty shells for employees. Even if they did, it would defeat the raison d’etre for being a manager, which is: the chief value-creator for the organisation.    

Managers have the choice to create the right work environment, systems and culture in return for the right employee decryption keys and ultimately, wealth creation for the owners for those of you that run for-profit entities or signature-impact for the not-for-profit.

In conclusion, like the rightful phone owner – the correct password, in the: right environment, systems and culture, grants managers seamless access to their employees’ metal circuitry and provides businesses with the opportunity to fully exploit the productivity potential of the labour at their disposal 

What are the implications for the modern corporation of having increasingly encrypted and scrambled employees?

See you next week


One response to “When employees act like encrypted smartphones – series 1 of 2”

  1. […] is fact – employee encryption is a problem that won’t go away soon. It’s a human thing that relates so very well to the […]


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About Me

Apollo B. Gabazira is an Ugandan OD. junkie fascinated by matters that render organisations/individuals effective or not. He blogs on effective leadership and management. He is a devoted green-farmer and breeds the Ayrshire cow at Nakabugu, Luuka district, Uganda. Apollo is quite effective at what he chooses to do.


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