A Complete Guide to Employee Monitoring: Its Why & How

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Aniruddh Parmar

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: May 21, 2021

Qandle

Qandle : No. 1 In Performance Management Software

Every year, managers go through the process of employee performance review at the middle or the end of the year.

Not only employees, but employers too dread the whole process of performance appraisals. It’s not surprising why. This is because half of them have no clue what to expect during the meet. 

Looking for Performance Management Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best Performance Management Software solutions.

A performance review is all about understanding each other’s expectations and working towards meeting the goals. As a manager, you will need to constantly monitor or track the performance or productivity of your staff. 

So what is employee monitoring?

Employee monitoring is the use of various techniques or methods to track employee activities. It acts as workplace surveillance to gather information about the activities of staff members. 

However, employee monitoring is often looked at as something that is used by companies that don’t trust their staff. But that’s not true. Installing the system of employee monitoring comes with both advantages and disadvantages. 

In this article, we have compiled a complete guide that will tell you everything you need to know about employee performance monitoring. Let’s begin. 

Employee Monitoring Guide

Why Do You Need to Monitor and Evaluate Employee Performance? 

As previously mentioned, monitoring employee performance comes with its own set of pros and cons. 

If employee monitoring has many benefits to offer, it also has some disadvantages. 

The Pros of Monitoring Employee Performance

  • Minimizes Waste Time at Work

The most significant thing is that it drastically improves productivity at work. 

In a study, 4 percent of the employees surveyed admitted that they tend to waste 4 to 5 hours of their workday on non-work related tasks, and 31 percent waste an hour a day. 

Clearly, wasting time is a common practice in any office. They do it by browsing social media or entertainment websites, and more. 

In fact, with the increasing popularity of working remotely, it has become more than necessary to keep a tab on your employees’ activities regardless of where they are working from. 

Many employee monitoring tools help in minimizing wastage of time. Website tracking allows you to see what your staff are browsing, screen monitoring tool enables you to keep an eye on your employee screen activity, and it also helps in tracking the number of hours they have worked. 

  • Gives You Better Employee Insight

The most significant advantage that you derive from employee monitoring is that it helps you identify the highest performers along with the lowest ones. 

Many companies use data analytics to get great insights from employee monitoring tools. In fact, the data is used by HR to predict who might be considering a job change, which communication channels lead to effective collaboration, and more. 

Google was one of the first companies to take HR decisions based on employee monitoring data. One more famous example is of Dallas restaurant. When they started using monitoring software to track their waiter’s activities, the main aim was to prevent theft. 

However, the data also helped identify the most productive waiter. He was then rewarded with a management position too. 

  • Brings More Transparency

Employee monitoring contributes in several ways that bring transparency to the workplace. 

As remote workers are becoming popular, it can be quite a challenge to unite all workers together on a global dimension. Well, employee monitoring can be quite a help in connecting everyone. It gives you a clear view of what each employee is working on and keep a close eye on their activities. 

It also helps you track if an employee is spending too long on a specific task. For example, if A is taking six hours in creating a presentation as compared to only three hours taken by other employees, you can examine why it is taking longer. You can study the differences and speed up the whole process. 

  • Helps You Assess Accurate Manpower Requirement

In most companies, work allocation is based on guessing works. And thus, some individuals end up working more hours at a job than others. 

It is generally because there is a lack of equal allocation of work, not that people are trying to avoid work. Monitoring employee performance solves this issue as it gives detailed insights into your team’s capacity. 

So when you see an employee spending less time than others, you can relocate certain tasks and make proper utilization of time. Moreover, it increases employee satisfaction when they notice that works are distributed equally amongst all. 

The Cons of Monitoring Employee Performance

  • Creates a Lack of Trust

It’s understandable why employees might think you don’t trust them when you monitor their activities. 

In fact, many tools enable you to monitor your employees’ activities stealthily. You should never do that — firstly because it’s illegal in so many regions and secondly if they find out, it will make them extremely upset. 

Besides, those apps that are extremely intrusive can also damage the relationship with your employees. It may result in low morale and low productivity. Sometimes employees even start looking for a new job where they feel a sense of freedom. Thus, you face a high turnover rate. 

  • Feels Lack of Privacy

Employees generally desire more freedom and less monitoring. 

Many employees are against monitoring the activities in the workplace. Even though the law supports it, many staff doesn’t feel safe and detest the feeling of being watched all the time. 

It makes them feel that their privacy is at stake. They feel uncomfortable when their screen activities are screenshotted, or web browsing history is being logged. 

Moreover, when an employee is being subjected to monitoring for the first time, it raises their concern. That’s why many companies only tend to monitor employees that are working out of their physical offices. 

  • Makes You Face Legal Aspects

Several states have their own set of guidelines on employee monitoring. In fact, specific industries law requires you to track your employees’ activities. 

By not doing so, you can land yourself in trouble. Furthermore, the best way to stay out of trouble is by not being too intrusive and respecting privacy rights. And you should always inform your employees that they are being monitored. Otherwise, be ready to face a lawsuit in case they find out. 

How to Choose Employee Monitoring System

There are many aspects of choosing an employee monitoring system that will help you decide the right fit. However, before that, let’s dive into the different employee monitoring system you need to know about. 

Different Types of Employee Monitoring System 

  • Computer Monitoring

Computer monitoring generally means keeping a tab on employees’ computer activity and internet usage. 

There are various time tracking tools and other computerized software that automatically collects information about job performance. It collects data on programs and apps they have used and the URLs they have browsed and for how long, during the work hours. 

It allows you to analyze and determine if employees’ hours are used productively or not without the need to continuously supervise them. 

  • Call Monitoring

Call monitoring is mainly used for customer service jobs for reasons of quality control. 

Managers like to record employees’ interactions with clients to make sure that they are meeting the company’s standard service quality. How an employee interacts with clients, customers, visitors, and more has a significant impact. 

Merely answering calls in not enough. That’s why call monitoring is critical as it helps you to analyze and improve the quality of calls. Besides, it enables you to know what business information employees are exchanging with others both within and outside the organization. 

  • Email Monitoring

Email monitoring has many advantages. The first benefit is that it can help prevent abuse or inappropriate behavior. 

Statistics show that more than 50 percent of larger companies monitor their employees’ emails. 

They want to make sure that employees are not wasting the company’s time, and of course for some security reasons too. It’s better to let employees know that their emails are being monitored so that it helps protect both employees and the business. 

In fact, sometimes email monitoring also helps in settling or solving disputes. 

  • Location Tracking

The employee GPS tracking is crucial, especially for companies involved in field jobs. 

Companies usually track employees who spent a lot of time on the road. It could be field managers, cab drivers, visual brand merchandisers, and other professions that include traveling a lot. 

GPS technologies enable businesses to track where their employees are precisely at any given point of time. It is vital for two reasons — first, it helps in boosting efficiency and decreasing lead time. And second, it brings more accountability to the fieldwork. 

  • Time-Clocking

Time-clocking is nothing but keeping a record of the time when employees arrive and depart. 

There are different ways you can do this. Some companies use chips, whereas other uses electronic cards. Employees scan upon arrival and when leaving the office building. It allows you to know if the workers are coming to work on time or not. 

Factors You Need to Consider Before Choosing Your Monitoring Tools

There are thousands of time tracking software available in the market. It can get quite confusing with so many options to choose from. 

There are various aspects such as risks, business goals, legal requirements, and more that you need to study before you make your pick.

  • Quality Assessment

Monitoring software should be able to improve your overall business process. 

You need to check whether your employees are adhering to quality standards or not. An effective software will be able to boost productivity at work by allowing you to keep a close eye on your employees’ activities. For example, you can monitor the interactions of sales reps with your clients. 

Furthermore, a quality monitoring tool will assist you in business planning and streamline investigation in case any issue arises. It shouldn’t be for spying purposes. Otherwise, it may lead to a violation of privacy and discontent staff members. 

  • Defining Goal of Your Business

Before you begin to consider monitoring, you need to first define your business objectives. You will need to conduct an assessment and determine the underlying issues. It will help you understand why you require to monitor employees. 

Set definite goals about what you want to achieve from monitoring. For instance, your goal could be to improve customer service quality, you can implement call monitoring solely. You can then judge the quality and keep in check if the standard condition is being met or not. 

  • Consider Legal Requirements and Obligations

Monitoring laws vary from state to state and country to country. The laws recognize why an employer needs to monitor their employees. 

In fact, some industries have standard regulations and guidelines, a code of ethics, and confidentiality requirements regarding employee monitoring that you need to follow. Failing to do so can lead to lawsuits, penalties, or license cancellations. Besides, it’s necessary to maintain transparency and security of data. 

That’s why you should educate yourself on the legal requirements and other guidelines before installing an employee monitoring system. 

  • Determine Teams to Monitor

Another significant aspect to consider is whether you want to monitor the entire office staff or just a selected group or location. 

For instance, you might only want to monitor your employees who work remotely and not those who are working from your office. Or you might want to watch your field workers. In such cases, setting up a GPS tracking system can help you keep a close tab on them. 

Sometimes, companies decide to monitor only a certain level of employees either at the junior level or in senior positions. It’s better to determine what you really want and then proceed ahead. 

How to Implement the Employee Monitoring System

Now that you know the different types of monitoring systems and the factors to consider, let’s talk about another important thing. That is — how to put the employee monitoring system into place? 

There are a few things that you need to keep in mind that will make the whole process easy. 

  • Have a Written Policy

The foremost important thing to do is to draft an Employee Monitoring Policy document. 

The policy should depict all the guidelines related to their performance monitoring. There are several things that you need to keep in mind while creating the policy. 

    • Write in clear, understandable language. Try to avoid jargons
    • Make sure that every employee has read the document
    • It should cover every type of information, including the type of monitoring system being used, who is being monitored, etc.
    • State the purpose or objective behind choosing to monitor your employees. Explain to them what you wish to achieve and what your expectations are
    • Don’t forget to include relevant legal provisions as well

It’s also advisable to include a section that addresses the steps an employee can take if he or she feels the policy is being violated. 

  • Explain the Benefits to the Employees

As a manager, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your employees don’t have any objections to the monitoring policy. 

Most of the time, employees give consent to being monitored, but they are not entirely happy about it. You can change their mind by explaining to them how monitoring is not only going to help employers but employees too. 

Give them a presentation on the benefits of being monitored. Here are a few key benefits that will get you started. 

    1. It will give them more autonomy since managers won’t have to supervise every micro thing all the time. They will be only concerned about the output. 
    2. Tools track the number of hours worked to ensure that no worker is underpaid. They will be compensated for the amount of work done automatically. 
    3. It will bring more transparency at work. 
    4. They will have more efficiency at work, as it will minimize the time wasted otherwise. Thus, it will increase their productivity. 
    5. They won’t have to waste time filling out timesheets and instead focus on more critical tasks.
  • Conduct a Training Session

The next thing you need to do is train your employees on how to use the software.

Walk them through the process. You can hold webinars, organize conference meetings, or any other way that feels right. But try to make the session fun as it will help reduce some hesitation in adopting the employee monitoring system. 

  • Gather Feedback

The best way to make your employees feel comfortable is by letting them know that you appreciate their comments and suggestions. 

When you try to listen to their views, it helps you with the decision-making process. And at the same time, it helps build trust. They start trusting you and your decisions and make the whole process of implementing the system quite easily. 

Second, it’s better to have a continuous process of collecting feedback at different stages of implementation. For example, when you are onboarding them, during weekly conference meet, or during the performance review. 

Parting Words

We have reached the end of the article. Before I end this guide, I want to take you through a simple Do’s and Don’ts of employee monitoring. It will help you avoid any conflict or legal issues and smoothly improve your employees’ performance. 

Do’s List

  • Always inform your employees about the monitoring system
  • Have a clear-cut employee monitoring policy in place
  • Try to boost your employees’ performance level

Don’ts List

  • Don’t try to violate their privacy rights
  • Don’t try to micro-manage everything

To conclude, employee monitoring can have a direct impact on employees’ performance levels and increase your business profitability. Use it wisely without violating any laws and privacy, and you will be good to go. 

Were these tips were helpful for you? Tell us in the comment section below. 

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Aniruddh is Blogger and Digital Marketing Specialist at SoftwareSuggest. Ready to grab a cup of coffee anytime if you want to talk about tech, cars, businesses or cricket.

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