At work, environment monitoring has always been there in some form or the other. First, some supervisors were keeping an eye on employees working in the office and later on, companies used devices like biometric to monitor and manage employee attendance. Most prominent organisations use CRM to observe how the sales and customer service executives are driving the new and existing customers. There are a lot of software in BPO which keep a record of every conversation with the customers. These are all the ways and forms of employee monitoring. Whenever these tools or processes are implemented, there is a lot of resistance from the employees. Still, over a while, the employees also realise that these systems are for their benefit only.
As most of the work, especially in the service industry, is moving towards laptop desktop, the employee monitoring software is coming to light prominently. Moreover, with the shift in work culture like remote work, work from home or hybrid working model, organisations feel the need to have such software. But, there is a lot of hesitation in implementing this software. As a professional working in the employee monitoring space, I felt it right to share my experience, which I had with many organisations while they were deciding to buy and implement our software.
Significant reasons which are stopping organisations from implementing employee monitoring software are given below, and also I have tried to provide a solution for those issues.
Most organisations feel that once they implement monitoring software, their employees will think that the organisation is not trusting them, affecting their relationship with the management. It is true because the relationship between organisation and employee is based on mutual trust, and either side cannot breach it. But there is another aspect that can be seen in this scenario as many employees are working from home or remote locations and are worried about their career prospects. Compared to employees working from the office near their supervisors, they need not worry about their work activities being presented to seniors.
Solution: In the era of trust issues, your management will never doubt on your credibility. But facts prove that humans tend to perform better when they are under observation. It is the very same reason all civilisations are abode by law and constitution. Ivan Pavlov a well known psychologist, won Noble Peace Prize for his experimented on your very close relatives, aka chimps, that proved that they misbehaved when no one was watching. But they were 80% more disciplined when they were under prevalence. Every organisation is a family, and we trust family.
2. Employee Privacy
Privacy is becoming a significant concern. Every employee working in an organisation is worried that if such monitoring tools are installed, many private activities, like making a financial transaction or sending a personal message, can also be tracked. However, no organisation has the right to interfere in the privacy of an individual.
Solution: There are much software that gives this flexibility to the employee so that when they are doing their personal work, they can stop the monitoring process, and their privacy is maintained. Also, organisations need to be very careful regarding the office timing of employees to let them complete their other private tasks during non-working hours.
Most employee monitoring softwares track website visits, application usage, take screenshots, and give workforce analytics to the organisations. The employees are overwhelmed with this kind of monitoring and feel that they are micro-managed. It is not suitable for any organisation as employees need to have their space even while working in-office hours.
Solution: It is the organisation's responsibility not to use the data provided by the softwares in punishing or micromanaging employee behaviour. On the contrary, organisations can use this softwares to give constructive feedback and help, and employees increase their productivity and result in whatever they are doing.
4. Increase Attrition Rate
Organisations fear that many employees would not adhere to this way of working and leave the organisation, and its attrition rate will increase. It will impact the cost of hiring new employees, delay projects, and impact the organisation’s bottom line. However, there are many benefits involved when the employees are working from home like daily they will save a lot of time and money as they are not commuting to the office. In addition, they can give more time to their family. Another plus point of working from home or remote location is that employees get their own space to be more creative and focused.
Solution: Before implementing employee monitoring software, the organisation needs to create an employee monitoring policy that will document all does and dont’s by both employee and supervisor. Employees need to be educated as to how they can effectively use this software to report their daily activities and maintain their privacy. Once organisation inform their employees regarding the benefits of such software, it will work in favour of the organisation rather than against it.
5. Lower employee morale
There are instances where supervisors do not adhere to the set guidelines of employee monitoring and become over-aggressive in pointing out employees issues. Due to this, the employees will get more anxious, and this would lower their morale.
All the supervisors and leaders need to be more empathetic towards employees and help them transition into work. Supervisors should not confront employees until and unless employees are well versed with all the specifications and usage of the software.
The Silver Lining
Like any other Technology, advanced employee monitoring software should also be seen to increase employee productivity while ensuring that this tool works towards the benefit of the employees rather than organisations using it to exploit and micromanage that workforce. It can be achieved only when an organisation which is going to implement employee monitoring software has to first educate its workforce regarding using their working time efficiently and using the employee monitoring software to their advantage; this is another technological innovation, and this can be used as an incentive for those employees who opt to work from home or through hybrid culture. Any specialised tool has its pros and cons, but it needs to be understood that majority of the cases, it is the end-user who will use this tool to make it beneficial or loss-making.