Beginner's Guide to Employee Monitoring Software
There is an increasing number of companies incorporating employee monitoring software in their daily businesses. However, many others don’t know much about it and hence are unsure about whether they should adopt it.
Employee monitoring software is an effective tool that provides employers with unique insights into how their employees are spending their work hours. Employee monitoring software gives you quantifiable data, making it much better than manual monitoring.
Read below for more information on employee monitoring software.
What is Employee Monitoring Software?
Employee monitoring software can help employers obtain comprehensive data regarding employees and how they use their work hours. This data also includes a review of the programs used by employees as well as the proportion of their time dedicated to work-related tasks and duties.
Employee monitoring software essentially keeps tabs on everything an employee does while on the clock, from the websites they visit and the messages they send to the applications they launch and the files they download.
Keeping tabs on employees is important for two reasons: first, to make sure no one violates the rules, and second, to ensure employee productivity and accountability.
Features of Employee Monitoring Software
The effectiveness of employee monitoring software relies heavily on its capabilities. That’s why every company gives them special attention and consideration. Employee monitoring software needs to include a wide variety of capabilities to be able to monitor and assess each action taken by workers.
This feature aids in the monitoring and administration of ongoing projects inside an organization. It helps project managers assign work, divide up resources, establish priorities, and track progress.
This feature enables users of the employee monitoring software to keep records of the screen or capture screenshots in order to obtain visual evidence of the activities being carried out by employees. It has applications in training, quality control, and regulatory compliance.
This feature helps to provide a simple interface for retrieving the targeted information that employers need to track.
This feature provides comprehensive reports and analytics that help employers get insights into employee time allocation, performance, patterns of productivity, and compliance measures. The information gathered is useful for making decisions and improving overall efficiency.
With this tool, team leaders can set various parameters and rules to generate and distribute schedules to their staff automatically. It manages the planned processes, reduces conflicts, and ensures full coverage, which saves both effort and time.
This feature enables employers to look at every single key that the employee types using their keyboard. You can use this function to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior or detect security breaches.
Webpage Monitoring means keeping track of what websites employees visit when they are on company time. It compiles all of the information regarding the visited websites, the length of each visit, and the web pages accessed.
All of this information is put to use to do an employee internet behavior analysis.
This tool makes it easier to keep track of and log the apps that employees use. Application monitoring also keeps track of what programs workers use, how much time they spend on them, and any possible misuse.
With the help of live chat monitoring, supervisors can keep tabs on ongoing chats between customers and support agents in real-time.
This tool is helpful for managers because it allows them to assess the level of customer service provided and pinpoint areas where employees may require additional instruction.
Email monitoring lets companies keep an eye on and analyze the emails that their workers send and receive. It also lets you see the text and attachments of incoming and outgoing emails so you can keep an eye on how your employees talk to each other.
This feature lets companies watch any employee’s webcam feed from afar for security reasons or to give visual proof. It helps keep an eye on what employees are doing, whether they are following company regulations and other things.
Steps to Set Up Employee Monitoring Software
There are only three basic stages involved in setting up an employee monitoring system.
- Register for your preferred service.
- Install and download a monitoring agent for collecting tracking data from an endpoint.
- Sign in to your account on the website in order to monitor the outcomes.
In comparison to traditional self-hosted systems, you have greater flexibility and convenience at your disposal with cloud-based software because it is not physically hosted in your place of business. Cutting back on expensive and cumbersome infrastructure is a great way to save money and time.
Risks of Using Employee Monitoring Software
After reading the features described above, you may be tempted to go ahead and register for a monitoring tool immediately. But before you go ahead, consider the following risks of using such tools and have a plan in mind on how to mitigate them:
Decline in Morale
Multiple studies have shown that using employee monitoring software is an effective way to increase output. However, there is also plenty of data available on its negative impacts. A study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior Research found that some workers viewed the practice as an intrusion into their private affairs. They worry that constant surveillance may kill their enthusiasm and morale on the job.
Depending on how intrusive an employee tracking system is, it might cause people to feel even more under scrutiny, which leads to greater stress levels. This problem is particularly severe when monitoring software is introduced without appropriate explanation.
Brings Up Concerns Over Privacy
A poll conducted by ExpressVPN found that 59% of workers are concerned about surveillance. Meanwhile, 43% of people say that this is a violation of trust. Nearly half of workers (48%) would take a wage cut to protect their privacy.
Therefore, assuring employees that their privacy will be respected is essential. Consider Wolfeye as a case in point. This application’s intended purpose is performance tracking, not spying. Companies can use this software to analyze productivity data only.
It will not gather private and sensitive data like secret messages, social security numbers, or passwords.
Employee Monitoring: Legal Considerations
Although the legality of monitoring employees is very context and industry-specific, there are some general considerations to keep in mind:
Data protection and privacy laws, labor laws, and other sector-specific legislation also fall into this category.
A growing number of nations are passing data privacy legislation like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and California’s Consumer Privacy Act, raising the stakes for adequately protecting users’ data.
The same could be said for information about employees, which could be illegal to share according to confidentiality laws like HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). You should also be aware of any legal requirements and constraints that pertain directly to your company.
When it comes to determining the scope of their surveillance operations, most employers in the United States are given a significant amount of freedom by federal and state privacy laws in the country.
Employee consent is required by some local and state laws, but most do not mandate that businesses inform the workers that they are being monitored.
States like Connecticut and Delaware have laws that make it illegal for employers to conduct any kind of electronic monitoring on their employees without providing enough notice. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of the United States provides legal justification for two types of employee surveillance:
- If a company can demonstrate that it has a “legitimate business purpose” for monitoring its employees’ electronic communications, then it is granted permission to do so by the government.
- An employer is also permitted to monitor workplace communications if they have received prior employee consent. This is typically done through the onboarding process as a part of the regular documentation that is filled out on the first day of employment.
But litigation can still happen even if both parties consent. Today, most employee-initiated monitoring lawsuits include terminations related to employee misconduct with company-provided vehicles or electronic devices.
As tracking technologies continue to evolve, there may be an increase in the number of lawsuits filed against employers that use cutting-edge technologies on the job.
Companies should make sure to examine the legal standards that must be met in regard to consent and make it a point to ensure that employees are adequately informed about the monitoring operations as well as the rights they possess. When consent from employees is required, make sure to document and keep records of it.
Businesses must take precautions to safeguard the monitoring data. Protect sensitive employee information by storing it securely and limiting who can access it. Encrypt, anonymize, and store data as required by any data protection rules that may apply.
As mentioned before, companies must make sure there are legitimate business purposes for their monitoring operations.
The level of monitoring should correspond to the importance you place on the monitored information, such as security, productivity, compliance, or safety. Do not invade the privacy of your employees by conducting unneeded or excessive surveillance.
Companies can ensure confidentiality by determining upfront who will have access to and how they will utilize monitoring data. Restrict access to the information to only those who need it, and only for the specified purposes, such as assessing performance, investigating security breaches, or keeping tabs on compliance.
It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer about the rules and regulations that apply to your business and area unless you already have an in-house legal specialist.
Effective Implementation of Employee Monitoring Software
Let’s say you conclude that monitoring employees in the office can be beneficial, and as a result, you have decided to keep tabs on how your employees use up their work hours. You have even selected the solution that is tailored to your requirements, and you are now prepared to begin monitoring your staff.
Before you begin, there are a few things you should always remember to do and some you should avoid doing in order to keep the management out of trouble and your staff content.
Do Let Your Team Know
The purpose of employee monitoring is to improve the level of transparency that exists between the team and management. So, if you’re going to be monitoring your staff, it’s only fair to let them know.
Do Not Invade Employee Privacy
Avoid using employee tracking to gain insight into your workers’ private lives, even if the software records something private. It is one thing to keep an eye on the performance of your workers, but it is immoral and illegal to use this information to look into their personal lives.
Do Monitor to Boost Productivity
Employees will be more motivated if they are able to evaluate how they stack up against others on the team. Simply put, nobody wants to be the member of the team that has the poorest overall performance.
Do Not Intimidate Employees
If you want to improve your employees’ productivity, use trust and openness as tools rather than intimidation. This is especially true when it comes to senior or more experienced workers.
Do View the Big Picture
We recommend that you use monitoring tools to identify overall productivity trends instead of looking into each action of each of your employee(s). It is also recommended to provide your staff some leeway for isolated incidents.
Do Not Micromanage
Micromanaging your team’s efforts will drop your team’s morale and has the potential to increase the employee turnover rate. Allow your staff the freedom to make their own decisions and use employee monitoring as nothing more than a tool to keep them on track.
So, now that you have a comprehensive understanding of what employee monitoring software entails and what you should consider, you can go ahead and employ it in your business. It can prove to be an invaluable tool for the success of your company.