HOW TO INTRODUCE EMPLOYEE MONITORING
We show how to introduce employee monitoring in a way that keeps your staff onside.
OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND?
In an age where remote working is becoming more prevalent, businesses need to know that their employees are productive, no matter where they are based. This has seen a rise in the numbers of organisations wanting to install tracking software on company devices. By monitoring employees, businesses can maintain efficiency, whilst also making company data and commercial secrets more secure.
IT’S NOT WHAT YOU DO, IT’S THE WAY YOU DO IT
Few will argue with the logic but if monitoring is not introduced sensitively, it is likely to cause unnecessary anxiety and resentment for employees. Nobody likes the idea of being watched so it’s important for businesses to provide a reasonable explanation as to why monitoring is being introduced.
Clarion provides security solutions for organisations large and small. Here we show how best to introduce productivity monitoring in a manner which keeps staff onside too.
Checking staff productivity is nothing new. In the past, organisations have found all kinds of ways to measure productivity, from simple clocking-in sheets, to time-and-motion studies and 180-degree appraisals. Employers just like to know that people are doing what is expected of them, and what they are being paid for.
Remote working presents a new, rather obvious dilemma for employers: how can they tell what their employees are doing if they can’t see them? Of course employers can send instructions by phone, email or video but all of this takes time, and is especially difficult to administer when large teams are working remotely. Typically that’s when employers start to look for faster, more automated methods of keeping tabs on their staff.
ADVANTAGES OF EMPLOYEE MONITORING
Prime amongst these methods is Productivity, or Employee Monitoring, an incredibly powerful tool for any employer who wishes to see exactly what employees are doing on and off the company network. Tracking software is installed on company computers, laptops, phones and even GPS devices, enabling businesses to log, locate and record every keystroke an employee makes. They can call upon real-time or historic browsing reports, take regular screenshots and even generate video tracking footage to show everything that has appeared on a particular device.
For employers, the potential benefits include:
- Higher staff productivity
- Extra security for company data
- Greater legal compliance
- Automated options to cut administration
- Efficiency reporting for managers
DISADVANTAGES OF EMPLOYEE MONITORING
For employees, the prospect of being monitored will not look quite as rosy. They are likely to regard it with suspicion, and resent the intrusion of Big Brother-style surveillance into their working day. There is a real danger that it will bring about a ‘them and us’ mentality, creating a silent, simmering atmosphere of discontent that the company may not realise until it is too late.
For employees, potential outcomes include:
- Raises stress levels
- Higher staff turnover
- Privacy concerns
- Legal validity
- Trust issues
HOW TO WIN OVER EMPLOYEES
How can businesses introduce an employee monitoring programme in a way that employees will find reasonable? Clarion has some recommendations that can help. Most importantly, employers need to accept the validity of their employees’ concerns then address each one. Here are some approaches that will help.
IS IT LEGAL?
Yes it is – employers can monitor staff at work provided it is justified. Employees have rights at work too and if you ignore them then you run the risk of being taking to a tribunal, or being reported to the Information Commissioner. To avoid this, aim to be transparent. Tell everyone the reasons why you are introducing a monitoring programme, and make sure that everyone is fully aware of the company’s policies on using company devices like phones, computers and laptops.
IT’S MONITORING, NOT SURVEILLANCE
Most employees will have nothing to fear from personal monitoring software. Reassure them that the company is not planning a witch-hunt and that staff are not going to be checked every minute of the day. On the other hand the company just wishes to ensure that everyone is working to their full potential, without too many external distractions. Staff working on the wrong task, or on one that is not work-related ones may expect to get the odd gentle pop-up on their screen to remind them.
PROTECT BUSINESS, PROTECT STAFF
As millions work away from the office, there is inevitably a loosening in how much control the company has over its own network. It cannot see everything that is being sent and that increases the chances of a cybersecurity attack. No employee will benefit from that. There is also the risk that rogue, disgruntled or departing staff may be tempted to steal or leak sensitive company data. Companies have a duty of care to protect staff from these threats, and performance monitoring software can deter both inside and outside threats.
If businesses are insisting employees use their devices, perhaps it is reasonable for them to allow a degree of personal use. Employees may fear that their employer is spying on them, or that their personal data is being compromised while they shop online, watch films or catch up with their social media – outside working hours. As long as no company policy is being breached then employers could allow some personal use and consider restricting monitoring to work time only.
STRESS THE BENEFITS
The prospect of a monitoring system may cause extra stress in the workplace. Employers must take this seriously to avoid losing productivity because of absenteeism, staff illness, potentially legal claims. The best response to counter this is to add that other forms of intimidation, bullying, harassment and discrimination can also lead to mental health problems for employees. An employee monitoring system would in fact act as a brake on all forms of harassment at work, as well as blocking undesirable material that can also make some staff feel uncomfortable.
Show staff how the software can be used to reward higher achievers If the aim is truly to improve productivity then managers should be able to set and gauge results-oriented performance through reports available within the tracking software. As a simple example productivity software could be used to measure data entry tasks. It would seem only fair that faster workers are given a higher rate than slower ones.
In some cases employees will find that monitoring software removes the need for managers to be looking over their shoulders. Instead of depending on someone else for a signature, staff required to ‘clock in’ will get an auto-generated timesheet, showing when they logged in and began work. Ideal if they need a record later in the event of any subsequent pay or overtime dispute.
You have shown your team that employee monitoring is a tool that helps protect the business and in turn protects its employees. Yes it can be used to track individual performance, and even as a stick against anybody who steps out of line. It’s also though a means by which employees can be rewarded for performance, protected from abuse and safeguarded against hostile inside or outside threats.
Clarion has been supplying Security, Comunications and IT solutions for more than 20 years. Employee Monitoring is a surprisingly affordable way to add an extra security layer to your organisation. Call or email our Business Solutions team for more information.