Microsoft looking to patent employee monitoring system, trying to “build trust”


Microsoft has filed a patent for a new system that apparently monitors employees via their computer usage, the phone calls they make, and physical gestures that take place. This new system would monitor digital interaction in the workplace to promote “better trust” among employees and employers.

“Organizations are based on hierarchical structures of various types. Trust levels within an organization depend on relationships and interactions between individuals of different hierarchical levels and/or same hierarchical levels. Thus, improvement of trust within an organization, or in other words autonomy and empowerment of the members, relies on improving interactions, influencing positive behaviors, and discouraging negative behaviors in concrete ways, which in turn may lead to increased levels of innovation and member happiness,” the patent states.

The monitoring system works by monitoring who makes certain verbal comments, who cuts off people during conversations, who makes certain gestures or mannerisms, which eventually get scored or highlighted in the system.

“Mannerisms may include visual cues such as wearing dark glasses in a video conference, wearing unacceptable clothing to a business meeting, and similar ones,” the patent further explains.

Microsoft’s idea behind the system is to “build trust” in the boss among employees. The system is apparently supposed to encourage behavior that results in employees being happier and more trusting. On top of this, the system can also be enhanced to predict future behavior from employees.

What do you guys think? Great idea or a recipe for disaster?