Why You May Want to Monitor Employee Activity

One thing that cannot be debated is the importance of productivity in a business. Regardless of what industry you’re in or how big your business is, you need productivity in order to make it thrive. While a lot of companies are still trying to decide whether or not they should allow their employees to work remotely, one solution has come up for a lot of them; employee monitoring.

people sitting on chair in front of computer

Employee monitoring isn’t actually anything new; chances are, in small ways, you’ve gone through it, or you’ve done it. Plus, if you want to reshape your organization, then getting an idea of everyone’s pace and what they do in a day does help a lot. So, if you’re wondering whether or not you should monitor employee activity, here are some reasons why you may want to look into it!

Is Employee Monitoring Ethical?

Employee monitoring has become increasingly common in the workplace as organizations strive to maximize efficiency and productivity. This practice raises ethical concerns, including whether it is an invasion of privacy if it leads to increased stress and anxiety for employees, and if it puts workers at a disadvantage.

But you also need to keep in mind that there are different methods for monitoring employees. Plus, depending on the work and the industry, monitoring may vary. For instance, if you run a commercial contracting-related business, then you might need a field service platform to check up on activity rather than some sort of software that screenshots employees’ devices every few seconds or even cameras. Generally speaking, employee monitoring comes in a variety of forms, so it’s not exactly a “one-size-fits-all.”

Monitoring Helps Catch Dishonest Employees

Employee monitoring is often viewed as an invasion of privacy, but it can also be a valuable tool to catch dishonest employees. For example, if an employee is consistently late to work or seems to be spending too much time on personal projects, it’s easy to see if they are lying about their productivity with data collected from their computer or mobile devices.

This type of data can reveal a variety of issues, such as financial fraud or even time theft. If the employee is caught cheating, it can lead to internal policy changes or even disciplinary action. It’s important to stress that monitoring should only be done ethically and for legitimate business reasons. Otherwise, it can damage team morale and cause resentment among the workforce.

Can Help Push for Celebrating Accomplishments

Particularly, this could help be a great push for celebrating employee accomplishments, such as wrapping up a major project. So, in addition to helping you catch underperforming employees, employee monitoring can help you celebrate those who are performing well. For example, if you decide to opt for software, some of them help celebrate accomplishments. This can include giving employees automatic achievement badges when they reach time or productivity milestones, so you can highlight their success in meetings or email conversations.

Usually, employee software picks up on these accomplishments before management notices, which can be a good thing. However, it doesn’t even need to be software when it comes to employee monitoring. You can still do the over-the-shoulder approach, and it would still be positive as well.

Ideal for Assisting with Better Performance

This is particularly true when it comes to new and inexperienced employees or interns. It’s a learning process for them, so getting to monitor how long it takes for them to work on something could be ideal. Why? Well, it shows what is and what is not their forte. Plus, there is another side to monitoring too. When employees know they are being monitored, they tend to perform better.

This is essentially known as the “Hawthorne Effect,” and it is true for remote workers as well. To a degree, everyone who feels watched just wants to look and appear better. Having a system in place can help you catch your employees doing something wrong or not working efficiently, so you can address the issue right away.

Employee monitoring can be a powerful tool in any workplace, but it can also backfire if you don’t communicate effectively with your team. It’s crucial to get employee buy-in and let them know that you are collecting this data for the good of your business. You don’t want to create an atmosphere of suspicion and fear. So just be careful in general, as you don’t want to loom over everyone. No one likes having Big Brother watch them, and they will leave if this is done too often. Try to keep it to new employees or employees that you’re suspicious of.

Potential to Help Increase Security

Can this actually help security for a business? Well, it’s going to really all depend on the type of monitoring. Obviously, if you have cameras installed, that’s going to instantly deter anything illegal- from customers, employees, and just thieves overall. Monitoring employee activity helps companies prevent data breaches, improve security and reduce risk. Employers can use software to track employee activity, block social media sites and other resources, and monitor personal emails and other communications.

Monitoring can also point out company problems that need to be fixed. For example, a hospital used monitoring technology to discover that it wasn’t stocking enough medicine at its stations. As a result, the company corrected its procedures and improved patient safety. So, to a degree, this could work, but you’re also going to have to keep in mind that it directly depends on the type of monitoring itself.

 More Employee Engagement

There’s potential there, but it’s going to depend on which way you go at this and how you decide to monitor your employees (and where, such as remote vs. in-house). To a degree, monitoring can cause a lack of engagement, depending on how you monitor your employees. But at the same time, it can also help boost engagement. It’s mostly about the company culture itself and how you choose to monitor it.

For instance, if you have weekly meetings where everyone discusses what they’re doing and what they achieve, this is an indirect form of monitoring. Such a method like this would be significantly better for employee engagement than sneakily monitoring their devices.

Ability to Adjust Turnover

Employee turnover is a normal part of running a business, but it can be costly. Not only does finding and training a replacement take time, but every day a position remains unfilled costs the company money through lost productivity and project delays. So, when it comes to monitoring employees, there are two sides to this as it can boost turnover but at the same time and it reduces it too. It’s going to be mostly about the approach that management has to this.

Monitoring software can help reduce turnover by enabling managers to track and act on key metrics. You’re able to get a solid idea of how productive an employee is, and it does give a general idea of what they do in a day. Additionally, tracking when employees clock in can identify chronically tardy workers and address declines in office morale before they lead to turnover. By taking proactive measures, businesses can reduce their turnover rate and keep it low. Ultimately, reducing turnover is beneficial for all parties involved.

While all of this sounds ideal, you also need to keep in mind that monitoring can make employees want to quit. If there isn’t any trust, especially when monitoring their devices, they will look for work in a place that has more trust in their abilities. So this is something to think about, as there are two sides to the coin when it comes to employee monitoring.

Better Insight

As a manager or business owner, you need to have a solid idea of your employees. Particularly, you need to have a solid idea of the insights of what’s happening and performance overall. Employee monitoring can also help you identify areas of training or coaching that may be needed for your team members. Depending on the specific type of monitoring system, you can get insight into the types of activities that employees engage in by examining keystrokes, page views, and general data insights.

It’s important to be transparent about the use of this kind of tracking software because if workers feel that you are spying on them, they will lose trust and may become less productive. You should think of it mostly as getting an understanding of the daily roadblocks your employees have.

Enhanced Communication

For starters, you need to have complete transparency with your employees; that way, there is a bridge of trust. Observing employees allows companies to quickly and accurately identify workplace faults, whether it’s one step of a process that’s not working or two employees who don’t work well together. The ability to see the problem and fix it helps workers understand that their company cares about their well-being and performance.

It’s not directly about using monitoring software or having a camera in the office. This could even be just checking up on how much work is getting done per day. But the best way to create more communication would be to have meetings. It’s technically a form of monitoring, but it is a healthy way that allows employees to open up.

When leaders communicate openly and honestly, they can create a sense of fairness that reduces the negative side effects of employee monitoring. This can also help to build a culture of accountability. When workers are held accountable, they’re more likely to comply with company policy. This can improve productivity and help your organization grow. Overall, this openness doesn’t feel like monitoring, but instead, it feels like “keeping up with everyone.”

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