“Employees should not be treated like machines” and “Treat employees like family” are commonly heard phrases in the corporate world. This present scenario can be attributed to the fact that business enterprises and workforces have come a long way from the time of the industrial revolution where laborers and employees were exploited for increasing profits. In today’s era, mutual respect and wellbeing of employees serve as pillars on which a healthy relationship is built between both the parties.
However, the improved conditions have not changed the fact that commercial organizations work with the aim of earning revenue. Hence, ensuring that resources are deployed properly becomes quintessential irrespective of the size or kind of business. Monitoring employees in the workplace has been exercised for a long time as employees, workers, and laborers are the most important resource of any company. From the entry and exit timings of employees to computer programs used by them, various details are recorded.
But there is a lot more to this than meets the eye as keeping tabs on employees involves a great deal of complexity. While employers can get several benefits, they also need to tackle challenges related to monitoring employees. The two biggest challenges are altering the perception of employees towards mandatory monitoring and practicing employee monitoring ethics while putting a system in place.
Pros and Cons of Employee Monitoring
Employee monitoring is carried out through a wide range of methods and devices, for example, CCTV cameras, biometric attendance machine, screen capture software, time allocation sheets, and project reports.
From a small departmental store to a large food processing unit, at all business enterprises, you can witness both positive and negative effects of employee monitoring. You can get a better idea by reading the following points.
Pros and Cons of Monitoring Employees in the Workplace
- Track a variety of activities
An employee monitoring software can record the time your employees log in and log out from their desktop or laptop. You can even know the exact amount of time for which your staff takes a break every day by asking them to lock the computer during lunchtime, smoking break, and tea/coffee time. Thus, you can track the number of hours worked by every employee in your organization.
In the absence of software, you can cross check the entry, exit, and break time mentioned in a physical register by your staff with the CCTV recording.
- Evaluate the performance
You can find out whether different teams or departments in your company have completed the projects assigned to them or not. You can even gain information about the tasks performed for completing solo and team projects. As you can view offline and online activities of employees, you can know which computer applications and websites are used by them.
So, you can compare their performance and ways of working with the pre-decided standards and determine whether your staff has fulfilled your expectations or not.
- Take disciplinary measures
As you can view the internet browsing activities of your employees, you can know whether they are accessing any website or web application that is not related to work. Human beings can get distracted easily, and so, you can take disciplinary measures for preventing employees from wasting their time. It’s extremely vital for the growth of your business that your staff spends their time productively.
With the help of technology, you can block certain websites and applications for the entire day or some days during the week or some hours every day.
- Get valuable insights
A sophisticated system and effective employee monitoring practices can enable you to get the insights of your business and its important stakeholder, i.e., staff. You can learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your company as well as your employees. A screen capture program can let you read the chats that take place amongst and between the members of different teams.
Therefore, you can know the thoughts they exchange, the accomplishments they make, the difficulties they encounter, and the obstacles they overcome.
- Recognize and Reward
Many studies have proved that employees feel motivated when they are appreciated for their hard work. You can use the data procured through your employee monitoring tool for identifying the highly productive employees. Then, you can reward such employees during the yearly increment and promotion time. Recognition makes employees feel valued and respected.
You can even announce ‘employee of the month’ and ‘extraordinary performer of the month’. If your budget permits, you can give a bonus to employees who have worked brilliantly.
- Employees get demotivated
The thought that someone is watching them continually can make anyone uncomfortable. So, your staff can feel uncomfortable, and thereby, lose focus while working. As a result, their efficiency will reduce and so will be the output generated by them. Needless to say, your business might suffer terribly in the form of decreased revenue and profit.
Over time, employees can get demotivated and make excuses to take leaves. Frequent sick leaves, too many employees remaining absent together, and a high turnover rate in a short period of time are signs of employee demotivation.
- Breach of trust in the relationship
Employees expect to be trusted for discharging their duties without supervision or interference. However, in every office or workplace, it’s not uncommon to find a few employees who are a bit lazy as compared to their colleagues. Therefore, monitoring can make such employees take their job seriously and engage in healthy competition with their fellow team members.
But employees who are self-disciplined and complete their duties without monitoring feel like there has been a breach of trust in the employer-employee relationship.
- Privacy and legal concerns
According to laws applicable in different states, monitoring employees in the workplace can invite a ton of legal problems for an organization. Moreover, using a software, tool, or device that can record every activity of an employee, including their conversation with others can be understood as an invasion of privacy. So, you must exercise caution while implementing any solution for employee monitoring.
You must gather information about laws and rules applicable in your city and state by consulting an attorney so that you don’t violate any of them. You should inform the employees about your policies and make them download monitoring software on their computer so that they can feel that they are in control of the system.
- Investment of time and money
Amongst all the negative effects of employee monitoring, cost or investment in the form of time and money troubles most of the employers. Buying a subscription for an application, software, or a program that can monitor employees often proves to be very costly. Organizations that are not able to find the right solution resort to getting the custom software built for them.
Companies also need to arrange sessions for training employees on using the software. Depending on the size of your organization, you might even have to develop a team that can view and analyze data recorded by the software.
- Growth of rumors and hostility
Every company has both flexible and non-flexible employees. While flexible employees can adapt to working under continuous monitoring, non-flexible employees can face problems. Employees who don’t prefer to be monitored or watched get a feeling of hostility in the organization. Thus, your staff gets divided into two groups, thereby making the workplace toxic for everyone.
Employee monitoring can also lead to the spread of rumors as staff members who are against monitoring might discuss your ways and practices outside your organization.
Hope you would have liked the blog post! We have presented to you some of the most crucial points from the long list of pros and cons of employee monitoring. We would also like to share an important piece of advice with you. While taking any decision related to your workforce, you should always remember that they are human beings. So, you need to consider their feelings, emotions, perceptions, beliefs, and thoughts.
You should ensure that the solution devised by you for monitoring your employees safeguards their interests. You need to explain to your staff the benefits of monitoring for receiving their cooperation. Create a perfect strategy for employee monitoring to smoothen the functioning of all the departments in your organization.