Prodoscore: The Bleak Future of Work
I recently took a sales pitch from Prodoscore at the behest of a colleague, and now I'm very concerned about the future of work. Much in the way that a poor (or even average) credit score can damage and ruin your chances at some opportunities, so too will a productivity score define your relative worth as an employee by reducing every aspect of your daily work life into a single number - your "Prodoscore". The sales pitch of course was presented in a light of "helping employers identify 'less productive' employees, and give transparency to team leaders on performance". At least at first.
A Credit Score for your Career was the phrase that piqued my interest. I pushed the salesperson a bit, asking if the score would follow you if your next employer also used Prodoscore. She said no, but then went on a tangent of remembering that she'd heard a C-level saying he envisioned a more permanent Prodoscore, something that people could put on their resume. That's when I turned from curious to concerned.
By tying into APIs from Google, SalesForce, and LinkedIn (the examples provided to me) the Prodoscore tool takes a granular look at your activities over the day, and then compares those against other employees and what they're doing. The amount of data you can see is amazing, and disturbing. The tools gives you full access to the user's sent emails, as well as other actions (I'd imagine you could get some pretty cool data using Slack as well).
I asked the salesperson (who was demoing her real Prodoscore used day to day) if there was any stress from knowing that your entire workday was exposed like that, or if there's any trepidation in showing complete strangers where you stack up in a company. She countered and said not only is there not much stress, but that she believes it's actually relieving stress. "At the end of the day, the score doesn't matter... it only matters when it's low" wasn't an inspiring pitch, but it illuminated the nature of these tools. If you're lagging, we're going to put you under a microscope and find out why.
Ultimately, Prodoscore still feels too immature to worry about. It's mostly a tool, for CEOs and companies who don't trust their employees, to spy on and dissect their employee's day second by second. Give it 5 years. I hate to imagine what social media spin Prodoscore and their competition apply to this. I'm reminded of the Scrum bit on Silicon Valley - where Jared dupes Dinesh and Gilfoyle into competing with each other, even though they both know exactly what Jared is doing.
Even though Dinesh and Gilfoyle both knew that Jared was only pitting them against each other to make them perform better for the same reward (shares in the company), they grudgingly capitulated - and even began to compete with each other! It doesn't take much imagination to connect the two scenarios, except on a global scale, the outcome could possibly be yet another barrier to employment.