Apparently staff at the National Security Agency have a problem with spies. That's the nugget that whistleblower-in-hiding Edward Snowden has given the HR world: internal documents that reveal an odd HR tactic at the agency.
Snowden's leaks evidenced a columnist called Zelda who fields internal questions about workplace issues with a dash of sass. Ironically, one of her columns even covers the issue of spying at work:
...Here’s the scenario: when the boss sees co-workers having a quiet conversation, he wants to know what is being said (it’s mostly work related). He has his designated “snitches” and expects them to keep him apprised of all the office gossip – even calling them at home and expecting a run-down! This puts the “designees” in a really awkward position; plus, we’re all afraid any offhand comment or anything said in confidence might be either repeated or misrepresented....
Wow, that takes “intelligence collection” in a whole new – and inappropriate – direction. …. We work in an Agency of secrets, but this kind of secrecy begets more secrecy and it becomes a downward spiral that destroys teamwork. What if you put an end to all the secrecy by bringing it out in the open?...
Snowden's revelations provide no information about Zelda's true identity, but she does mention that she is a mid-level supervisor with about two decades' experience. We also know that according to intranet traffic statistics, her column was extremely popular, and received questions from both supervisors and their underlings.
HRM attempted to contact the NSA for comment, but they did not return calls or emails.
Are the NSA onto something? Would you try this at your company?
You might also like:
Cringe-worthy job applications
Office pranks gone horribly wrong
Can’t get no job satisfaction? You must be in an HR administration role