By: Mark Sheldon Villanueva on March 10th, 2022
How to Navigate the Challenges of Employee Monitoring Software
How do you monitor your team's productivity without overstepping on their privacy?
If that question is on your mind, then your business might be one of the many who were caught off guard when the pandemic hit and forced employees to work from home. You're not alone.
Very few businesses were actually prepared with the right tools and policies to allow for effective remote and hybrid work setups. That has caused a lot of confusion and miscommunication for organizations post-pandemic. Who's working? Who's online? What is everyone doing? It's a massive undertaking just to keep track of it all.
Employee monitoring software can help with that, but it's not without its pitfalls. In fact, if you're reading this right now, there's a reason you haven't implemented these tools for your organization yet. That's because you're aware that navigating the challenges posed by monitoring your employees can be very tricky.
At ITS, we've helped hundreds of businesses make the transition to remote work setups. From our experience, employee monitoring tools can help get the job done. We use them ourselves for our remote teams. However, it would be best if you implemented them properly and ethically.
In this article, we'll dive into the following to help you navigate the pitfalls of employee monitoring:
- Why Buy Employee Monitoring Software?
- How to Navigate Employee Monitoring Challenges
Why Buy Employee Monitoring Software?
You don't need to buy employee monitoring tools. There are a lot of ways to keep tabs on your employees without taking that route. However, most of them will require a lot of work on your part.
One way of doing that without relying on costly software can be using some built-in tools on Windows. "They have event logs that can allow you to view if users log on or log off," said Kyle Ramirez, our Technical Sales Engineer from ITS San Francisco. Unfortunately, getting that raw data and sifting through it might be more work than it's worth.
Firstly, "if you wanted to get the raw data, most of these [event logging tools] are not turned on by default. You would have to enable this level of logging to capture these types of audit events," Ramirez said.
Lastly, "it can be difficult without software to correlate those real-time, real-world events," Ramirez warned. He explained that you might see event logs of a user logging off, and you might think they're no longer working. But in reality, the user might have stepped away for a minute then came back. "That's where the benefit of [monitoring software] comes in because it knows those nuances," he added.
Employee monitoring tools are specialized for tracking user activity. While they're not free, they are one of the most effective solutions for the task and can offer a lot of benefits for your company. However, you will need to implement them properly if you hope to navigate their challenges.
How to Navigate Employee Monitoring Challenges
Implementing employee monitoring software can present many challenges for your business. However, successfully overcoming them can give you an invaluable tool to gain insights into your company's productivity. Check out some of the main pitfalls of employee monitoring and how to navigate them:
Trust and Privacy Issues
Employee monitoring tools can promote distrust within your organization. It can also be seen as an invasion of your employee's privacy.
How to address the issue:
Be upfront about what data you will be tracking, how long you will be keeping said data, and for what purposes you will use it. Try to dispel privacy concerns by making sure you are as transparent as possible. Also, make sure to implement the system fairly for everyone in the company.
"I think it's important to test the solution before deploying it," Ramirez said. "Test it on themselves first. Are they comfortable with the level of information that was obtained about themselves? If they are, then they can make an informed decision," he explained.
In addition, testing and applying the solution for everyone will help employees understand that you are not conducting a witch hunt using the new tool. But rather, it's a company-wide affair.
Also, keep in mind that the more surveillance software you have in place, the more distrust you sow around the company. Try to understand that employees have expectations of privacy in the workplace. That's why you need to implement practices that respect those expectations. In short, try to limit the data you're monitoring to the essentials.
Increased Stress and Decreased Morale
Implementing a tool that tracks users' productivity can backfire on you. It can negatively impact your team's stress levels and morale.
How to address the issue:
Try to break the notion that underproductive employees will be met with swift punishment. Instead, introduce the concept that they will be given opportunities to improve themselves. You can enforce this by giving recognition not only to your most productive employees but also to those who've shown the greatest improvement.
Privacy laws can vary per location. The amount and type of data you can legally gather can differ depending on the country or state you are operating in.
How to address the issue:
If you are considering implementing a monitoring solution, it's vital to first seek advice from your legal team before anything else. There are very strict privacy protection laws in place for many states across the country. Keeping your legal team in the loop throughout the implementation process helps you avoid legal pitfalls and ensures you aren't imposing on your employee's rights.
Ready to Implement an Employee Monitoring Solution?
Employee monitoring tools can offer a lot of advantages, especially when the majority of your team is working remotely. However, you need to know that implementing it for your business will require careful planning and due diligence. It's vital to try to get everyone on board first if you expect to deploy a solution successfully.
At ITS, we've helped our clients boost their productivity with the help of technology. If you want to learn more, check out our ebook on how to ensure the productivity of your remote staff.