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Cover image for A plea to humanize your systems with employees pictures

A plea to humanize your systems with employees pictures

ranb2002 profile image Benjamin Rancourt Originally published at benjaminrancourt.ca on ・2 min read

Do you know NEW COLLEAGUE NAME? Or ANOTHER PERSON who just edited your wiki or pushed a new commit on your CVS? The last time you went to the restroom, do you know whom you ran into? Did you acknowledge them by their first name? 🚻

If you are part of a large organization, chances are you do not know this person yet. Even though on day one your boss made sure to introduce each of your coworkers to you, do you remember what each of them looks like? Remembering all this information can take a while, especially if you do not interact with them every day (or at least once a month).

Fortunately, most systems designed for collaboration display a profile photo next to each contributor. Each time they made a contribution, their full name is displayed along with their photo.

A document edit made by a collaborator on Confluence

But if they choose an unrelated image as their picture, it does not really help you recognize these people.

Some contributors on GitLab

Even though Jocelyn has been your coworker for two years, if you do not interact with him, he will be the new colleague forever for you. Do you really want this to happen to you or at your workplace? 🌚

Individually, you can choose to tackle this challenge by using a real photo of yourself, but will your colleagues do the same? Most people do not take the time to review the settings for every major software they use, so there is a good chance they will not update their profile picture.

Fortunately, if you organization takes employees photos to put them on cards to access buildings, you could have connectors to automatically push those photos to other software. No one needs to update their profile picture anymore, it will be done once a week by a bot! Now, everyone will have a photo next to their name and it will match what they look like. 🖼️

At my workplace, I have identified four main systems that use a profile picture:

  • GitLab
  • Confluence
  • Jira
  • Microsoft 365 suite

Do you think each of them offers an API to update profile photos? I hope someday I will know! 🕊️

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