Lloyds is rolling out new spying software that will enable it to monitor more closely and intrusively what staff are doing and when they are doing it. Whatever Lloyds says now, this is the first iteration of a more intrusive approach to monitoring inputs and outputs. The statement that this will also monitor how staff are feeling should be viewed with considerable suspicion.

The roll out of the spying software will start in People and Places and the Chief Data & Analytics Office. From 14th March 2024, Lloyds will start looking at individual staff data going back to September 2022. The Bank has said that staff in those two areas can opt out of their data being used if they want. The data being spied on includes individual colleague survey results, card swipe data, Workday and Microsoft Viva Advanced Insights.

Let’s be clear, that’s just the beginning. Digital employee monitoring will become ubiquitous over the next few years. So, don’t be surprised when Lloyds starts tracking which apps and websites staff are using, monitoring activity and downtime, and taking regular screenshots of employee’s screens throughout the day. Many staff in Lloyds are already subject to that invidious workplace monitoring. Where American firms lead, UK companies often follow. A few years ago, the New York Times published a series of articles on the rise of workplace monitoring and the results were truly shocking. Orwellian would be an understatement!

Lloyds said: “Workplace Insights is not about checking up on people or telling you how to work. It’s about identifying opportunities to help teams work better together in the smartest and most effective way possible”. The two things are not mutually exclusive. The software will allow Lloyds to do both and that’s what we are concerned about. Given all the disciplinary cases we deal with and the way they are approached, Lloyds simply can’t be trusted not to misuse the software.

According to Lloyds the data will not be interrogated at the level of the individual employee. It said: “All colleague data will be anonymised and aggregated for confidentiality and no individuals can be identified in Workplace Insights reports.”. Again, we simply don’t believe that’s what will happen in the long term. Once the data becomes readily available, senior executives will want to use it and there will be no one to stop them.

Staff in People and Place and the Chief Data & Analytics should opt out of allowing their data being used by Lloyds. We would expect Lloyds to offer that same opt out to all staff when the new spy software is rolled out across the Group later this year. We will see whether it does and whether that is given as a permanent guarantee.

Lloyds should also sign up to a set of data privacy commitments which are monitored regularly by an independent firm of auditors and the results published every year.

In a deep hole with staff engagement and morale at an all-time low, the Bank’s HR leadership are still digging. Ms Doherty needs to put the shovel down because Lloyds is doing more harm than good.

The Work Monitoring Problem

It’s impossible to argue against an employer wanting everyone to do a full day’s work and we won’t try to. But we do say that Lloyds lacks the analytical capability to understand what most people do during their working days, in part because the removal of managers in all areas has put many of those left under time pressure that prevents them managing staff properly. And recent disciplinary cases have also shown that as some areas of work have become more concentrated and people are trying to manage multiple pieces of software and workstreams that demand unmeasured collaboration, it is much harder to monitor what staff do. Wholly unjustified accusations of staff dodging work showed that their managers often did not know what those staff have to do by way of unmeasured work.

We expect to see more of these cases as the year proceeds.

Members with any questions on this Newsletter should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).


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