Future Friday: Using AI to identify employees leaving

by Michael Haberman on May 25, 2018 · 2 comments

Do you, or will you, use AI to monitor employee activity to determine if they are leaving?

There are many uses of artificial intelligence (AI) that are making their way into the HR department. Recruitment was one of the first areas to see the use of AI, but it is being used to analyze employee data, help with program enrollment, removing unconscious biases in decisions and more. One area that is also being impacted is in determining employees who are thinking about departing. A couple of years ago it was announced that Hewlett-Packard had such a tool, but now it appears to be more widespread.

Scanning the data

Veriato, a company concerned about company security, has a number of products that pay attention to human behavior. One of these tools can help companies predict which of their employees is likely to quit their job. According to an article in CMS Wire:

 “It tracks employee computer activity — emails, keystrokes, internet browsing, etc. — and stores it for one month and implements an AI system that analyzes the data to determine a baseline of normal activity patterns in the organization.”

It then flags the outliers, reports them to the employer, detects changes in the tone of communication and then tries to predict when employees might be thinking of leaving.

Useful tool or creepy?

Even though I am a big fan of AI, I was not so sure about this one. I can certainly see how this could be useful in predicting staffing levels but at the same time it comes across as creepy. I had questions about this, such as do the employees know their behavior is being recorded at this level? Is this information being given to the employees’ managers, and if so, how does this alter the behavior of the manager toward those employees?

What do you think?

Is this use of AI a good thing? Would you use it? Do you use it?

Weigh in with a comment below or a comment in a tweet.


The Spring Addition of the HR Carnival

by Michael Haberman on May 24, 2018 · 0 comments

The spring issue of HR Wisdom.

It seems that Spring is finally here for good and nothing signals that more than the Spring Edtion of the HR Carnival. This month’s edition is hosted by the self-proclaimed “student of human behavior” Tamara M. Rasberry. She has put together a collection of 19 fantastic blog posts. In case you don’t know, these bloggers are asked to submit a recent blog post that they consider to be their best. By this self-selection process you, the reader, are getting fantastic reading without having to work for it. Some of the topics in this Carnival include:

And many more. You will have to visit

#HRCarnival – In Full Bloom

to get the rest of the blogs. Of course, I submitted one as well Age Discrimination in Today’s World.


How to Prepare for an OSHA Inspection: A Guest Post

by Michael Haberman on May 23, 2018 · 0 comments

Safety inspections can be intimidating if you are not prepared.

Today’s guest post was written by Tom Reddon. Tom is a forklift specialist and blog manager for the National Forklift Exchange. He also sits on the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) Executive Dialogue team. Follow him on Twitter at @TomReddon

Does the thought of an OSHA inspection send shivers down your spine? Is your company due for an inspection but you shake at the thought of the event? Have no fear! While the Occupational Health and Safety Administration is a notorious enforcer of the laws, regulations, and directives it implements, it is also known as a progressive and open-minded franchise that wants to educate rather than punish. However, if you fear that your inspection won’t go as planned there are steps you can take to reduce the risk and bolster the chances of success. Here are four proven ways to prepare for an OSHA inspection and maximize outcomes from this event:

Have a Comprehensive Safety Program In Place

There is no surer fail-safe way to show OSHA you mean business than by already having a comprehensive safety program in place. There are many ways to achieve this but the important thing to remember is education. Safety education bolsters employee awareness, enhances efficiency, drives productivity, and lowers the chance of workplace incidents and accidents. If OSHA sees you have a comprehensive safety program in place, the statistics will take care of themselves with time. This is also a proven method to reduce liabilities. Furthermore, it’s virtually a requirement. According to EHS, OSHA would like to see safety and health practices concisely documented, readily available, well organized, and precisely worded. Doing this will generate favorable inferences upon inspection.

Foster Safety In The Workplace and Endorse Regulatory Compliance

Continuous improvement is an essential part of fostering safety in the workplace. Instead of resting on laurels and recent successes, management teams should always derive conclusions from their existing practices to improve them. Continuous improvement is synonymous with continuous safety awareness. OSHA’s guidelines and directives evolve with the times. With respect to this, so should your organization’s practices and protocol. Staying up to date on OSHA’s publications, new regulations, and pertinent advisories will only help foster safety in the workplace and ensure compliance. Demonstrating both of these to OSHA will likely cultivate a favorable impression.

Have An Action Plan In Place for Any Workplace Accident or Incident

Accidents do happen. As safe as any person, crew, or business tries to run their operations, incidents are inevitable. Thus, it is important to have an action plan in place for when the unfortunate strikes. Doing so will limit the effects of the incident and prevent further collateral damage. Furthermore, OSHA will like to see that you have intervention exercises ready to deploy as mitigation is bound to fail from time-to-time.

Keep Record of Training Documents and Accident Reports

OSHA requires businesses with 10 or more employees to keep records of any work-related incidents or accidents that produce severe injuries or illnesses. For minor events that require basic first aid only, documentation is not required to be kept. Staying committed to these kinds of endeavors will protect you from fines, substantiate your credibility, and produce a positive perception to OSHA Inspectors.


There are numerous issues surrounding the use of security cameras in businesses.

Today’s post on security monitoring is brought to you by my friends at SocialMonsters.org. 

As surveillance camera systems and other monitoring methods have grown more efficient and more convenient to install and use, more businesses are upgrading their security technology. This has brought major security benefits, but it has also created new privacy concerns. For instance, retail chain Forever 21 is currently facing a $2 million lawsuit after a former employee complained that footage from hidden cameras installed in a company bathroom was distributed to pornographic websites. As this illustrates, indiscriminate use of surveillance technology can land your company in potentially expensive legal trouble. Here are some important things your company needs to know about ethical and legal issues surrounding security monitoring privacy concerns, consent requirements and restrictions on what you can do with surveillance footage.

Privacy Concerns

When businesses are assessing privacy concerns over security monitoring, there are two major principles that determine legality, says attorney and legal author Lisa Guerin. The first is state law. While federal laws have yet to address many privacy issues raised by security technology advances, many states have passed their own laws which employers must take into consideration. For instance, California has particularly strong laws governing employer use of surveillance technology. To take one example, it is illegal in California to install a see-through surveillance mirror in a restroom, fitting room, locker room or shower. Due to California’s strong employee privacy laws, one California sales representative was able to sue her employer after she was fired for uninstalling a GPS tracking app that was being used to monitor her company-issued phone when she was off the clock, a case she might not have won in another state.

In the absence of clear state laws, there are two main factors that generally weigh into the legality of surveillance footage. The first is whether the employer has a legitimate business need to conduct surveillance. For instance, an employer might argue that security monitoring is necessary to prevent shoplifting. The second factor is employees’ reasonable expectation of privacy. For example, employees can reasonably expect not to be filmed while going to the bathroom.

Surveillance may also be restricted under other specific conditions. For instance, cameras that record sound may violate wiretapping laws, and it is illegal for employees to covertly record union meetings. If you’re not sure of the legality of a particular form of surveillance, get clarification from an attorney specializing in employment law.

Consent Requirements

Recording employees without their consent can increase your legal risk. For instance, in many states, it is illegal to record workplace conversations without the consent of both parties, says employment attorney Kristin Case. Failing to obtain consent can weaken your case in a privacy suit and can even subject you to liability and penalties for wiretapping and eavesdropping.

Before recording employees in the workplace, you should protect yourself by obtaining employee consent, recommends the law offices of Paul A. Samakow. The governing principles here are notice and warning. You can notify and warn employees that they are under surveillance by publishing a written policy and advising employees that they are being monitored. Employees who have been notified and warned are less likely to file a suit against employers, and employers who have given notice and warning are more likely to win against invasion of privacy claims.

Application Restrictions

Even after obtaining consent from employees to monitor them, there are ethical and legal restrictions on how you can use the resulting surveillance footage. In general, it is acceptable to use surveillance footage to prevent or witness crimes. For instance, many employers today use Ultra HD 4K IP surveillance camera systems to record crime scene details which can be used to identify shoplifters or employees who steal. This is a legitimate use of surveillance footage. Video footage may also be used to monitor employee performance and to weigh disciplinary measures.

On the other hand, just because an employee gives you consent to monitor them for security or performance purposes doesn’t give you a right to violate their privacy in situations such as using the bathroom and changing clothes. It also doesn’t authorize you to sell their image and likeness for commercial purposes. For instance, featuring an employee in an ad without their consent may open the door to a lawsuit. If you wish to use employee surveillance footage in an ad, it is best to build this into their contract ahead of time or obtain specific consent.

Workplace security monitoring should always be conducted in accordance with state law, for legitimate business purposes and in consideration of workers’ reasonable expectation of privacy. Obtaining consent from employees to monitor them can help guard you against potential legal problems. Uses of surveillance footage should be restricted to legitimate purposes such as preventing and witnessing crime, and evaluating worker performance, and should exclude invasions of privacy in bathrooms or changing rooms and unauthorized commercial use of an employee’s image and likeness. To ensure your monitoring practices are in accordance with the law, the best practice is to consult an employment law attorney.

{ 1 comment }

Networking news for #SHRM18 attendees

by Michael Haberman May 21, 2018

Tweet I have participated in several #NextChat sessions for #SHRM18. One of the frequent topics of discussions is networking. People are provided with all kinds of advice. Some of this includes: Bring business cards to help break the ice Don’t bring business cards, that will make you look outdated Talk to people at the lunch […]

Read the full article →

Future Friday Replay: Habits of a Futurist

by Michael Haberman May 18, 2018

Tweet I read an article in Business Insider called Why Every Corporation Should Employ A Futurist where the author talked about what a “futurist” could do for companies. Two of these were: Futurists think in terms of “multiple futures” rather than one. Not only does this increase the chances that one will have a plan for the […]

Read the full article →

Age discrimination in today’s world

by Michael Haberman May 17, 2018

Tweet In the scheme of things in the working world, I am an old man. As I approach my 67th birthday (July 7th for those of wishing to send gifts) I am continually frustrated by reading stories and listening to friends talk about incidents of age discrimination. I just recently had a friend feel compelled […]

Read the full article →

The Penalties for Wage and Hour violations are NOT just fines!

by Michael Haberman May 16, 2018

Tweet In a press release from early May, the USDOL announced that a conclusion had been reached in a case reaching back to 2009. According to the release: The U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire has sentenced Kevin Corriveau, owner, and operator of Kevin Corriveau Painting Inc. of Nashua, to six months […]

Read the full article →

Two News Items of Interest to HR

by Michael Haberman May 15, 2018

Tweet The arena of human resources is not a static one. Rather, one of the main challenges for people in the profession is the fact that rules, regulations, and practices are changing all the time. In that vein, I have several things in the news of which you need to be aware. Exempt salary level […]

Read the full article →

If you require the overtime, pay the overtime

by Michael Haberman May 14, 2018

Tweet I am amazed sometimes at the things employers will do to avoid paying overtime. If this is done unintentionally, it is a sign of ignorance and lack of proper understanding of the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. If this is done intentionally this falls into the category of wage theft. Below is […]

Read the full article →