Almost 80 percent of major companies in the United States monitor their employees’ internet, phone, and email usage.
Have you been considering following suit and implementing an employee monitoring protocol into your business?
Some business owners are, understandably, hesitant to start monitoring their employees.
However, there are definitely some benefits that come with using some kind of software. For example, you can use it to make sure your employees are staying on track and are being as productive as possible during the day.
Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of employee monitoring and how you can implement it into your business.
What is employee monitoring?
Employee monitoring is an umbrella term for any kind of observation over employees’ on-the-job activity. These days, employee monitoring often involves some kind of software.
All kinds of business owners, from entrepreneurs running their first startup to seasoned pros who own multiple companies, can make use of employee monitoring software.
These programs include a wide range of features, including the following:
- Activity analysis to tell when employees are using their time well or are being idle
- Smart rules and alerts to redirect employees away from certain websites and help them stay on task
- Live views so employers can see in real-time when their employees are doing
- Recorded playback to provide evidence of actions taken while on the job
- Email, text, and chat monitoring
- Keystroke monitoring to keep track of keyboard activity
Most employee monitoring software programs also allow for remote control, so employers can monitor and override manual inputs no matter where they are.
Pros of employee monitoring
There are plenty of benefits that employee monitoring software can offer — that’s why the majority of business owners use them. The following are some of the most well-known benefits you ought to consider:
Eliminates fraud and waste
No business owner wants their employees wasting time and resources on activities that aren’t work-related.
Employee monitoring makes it easy for managers and supervisors to see which employees are being productive and which ones aren’t. It’s a great tool for identifying problematic team members.
Less chance of a hostile work environment
If employees are engaging in inappropriate behavior while at work, they can create an unpleasant, even hostile, work environment for their colleagues.
For example, employees who belong to a certain religion would be deeply offended if a colleague was watching videos that spoke badly or shared incorrect facts about that religion.
Employee monitoring helps to correct these kinds of behaviors right away and prevents them from causing harm to other employees.
Protects against litigation
The information gathered using an employee monitoring software can also be used to protect a business should it be involved in a lawsuit. For example, emails and chat conversations that have been recorded could be submitted as evidence to prove that no wrongdoing took place.
Protects work quality
Employees who are being monitored are more likely to do their best work.
Employee monitoring can also be used to make sure employers aren’t making mistakes. Managers and supervisors can use this software to spot issues and correct them with better employee training.
Employee monitoring can also help to generate trust between supervisors and employees.
For example, a supervisor might have an employee that seems to be unproductive.
The use of monitoring software can prove that the employee actually is doing what they ought to during the day. This, in turn, can instill trust and prevent unnecessary disciplinary measures.
Cons of employee monitoring
There are drawbacks to employee monitoring at the same time. Here are a few that you should keep in mind when deciding whether you’re for or against it:
Can injure employee trust
Some employees will not respond well to monitoring. That’s just a fact.
They may feel that their boss does not trust them, and they may feel hurt as a result, especially if they’ve been working at the company for a long time or feel that they’ve never done anything to warrant monitoring.
Potential privacy issues
Business owners are definitely within their rights to monitor their employees. There are laws that govern what type of monitoring you can do, though.
Business owners must make sure that they’re in compliance with these laws and are asking for employee consent when required.
Potentially high costs
Employee monitoring can be expensive, too. The initial cost of monitoring software can be offputting to some business owners, especially those who are working with a tight budget.
How to choose employee monitoring software
If you’ve decided that, for your business, the pros of employee monitoring outweigh the cons, you probably want to learn more about employee monitoring software and the different features available.
You might also be wondering which type of employee monitoring software you should use.
There are lots of different programs out there, and it can be hard to determine which is best for your office. Here are some tips that will help you make the right decision:
- Consider the monitoring features you need for your business — do you need to monitor emails? Keystrokes?
- Make sure the software does not store passwords and usernames — this increases your risk of data breaches
- Make sure it offers database backup
- Make sure the software encrypts and password protects all data
- Consider your budget and what you can afford to spend monthly or annually
It’s also a good idea to think about ease of use, too. It’s best to choose a monitoring software that you and other employees can set up and use without too much training.
Need more employee management tips?
As you can see, employee monitoring might not work for everyone, but it can work very well in most business settings.
If you’ve been wondering about whether it’s a good approach for your business, use this information to help you make the right decision for yourself and your employees.
Do you need more help managing your employees and running your business? We’ve got lots of articles that are perfect for new business owners and seasoned veterans alike.
Check out the Founder Lessons section of our site today to learn about what other entrepreneurs are doing to keep their businesses running smoothly.