By Pravinraj Panicker
In Employee Monitoring

Any new innovation leads to new ways of doing things and with these new ways come new challenges. People tracking and concepts of smart offices are bringing forth the idea of employee monitoring and tracking within the office premises in a more granular form.

What is Employee Monitoring?

What you get is what you Inspect and not what you Expect!!! Management Quote

The term Employee Monitoring has a larger scope. It involves actively monitoring and tracking what the employee does inside the premises. This would involve monitoring the activities both when on his desk as well as off it. There are companies that have software added on the desktops to monitor how much time employees spent browsing the internet and what they browse. There are offices that monitor the employee using cameras to keep a check on the activities in certain areas. The employee monitoring systems employ monitoring the performance, strengths, and weaknesses too.


What are the benefits of Employee Monitoring?

The question one would consider is what are the advantages or benefits that an organization can get by implementing employee monitoring:

1] Locating

The ability to locate an employee, especially in large offices, the plant has been a problem of the ages. Their system of making announcements came from this need to reach people in a timely manner. With technology seeping into the offices in a major way, the thought of being able to monitor and track people is being thought about more. Employee monitoring would need to tag the employee to provide a digital ID, to the employee. These tags help identify the employee at the different gateways inside the office premises. It now becomes possible to easily locate the employee based on where the nearby gateway is located. Today it is possible to have live tracking of the person as he moves.


2] Check on Compliance

Various kinds of compliance can be verified by implementing monitoring systems like if the personnel is wearing a helmet when in a danger zone inside the plant. There are people who are willful defaulters, one can easily identify such employees using monitoring systems. Not only can they record these occurrences, they can also send out warnings and exceptions to the relevant stakeholders.’


3] Better Productivity

The ability to track the employee locations and the time spent at these locations by them gives rich data about how the employee goes about his work hours. Thus if the employee is found to be spending less time at a desk, and more time on the internet then bringing this to the notice of the employee by his superior will bring up more tightening, thereby ensuring that employees stay more focused.


4] Deterrence

Another major although subtle impact of monitoring systems is that the employees now would be more careful and the system would act as a deterrent, as is with any other monitoring system like the street cam at signals. This will ensure there is more focus on work and lesser time getting wasted on non-productive activities.


5] Performance Improvements

There are other side benefits like systems that would be able to check on what went wrong by looking at the data and visual cues. This will help re-enforce the right things undertaken and correct the wrong actions taken.


6] Increased Customer Service and Satisfaction

The fact that there are performance improvements and better productivity, will naturally lead to a more satisfied customer. As the output becomes better the outcomes become even better.


7] Branding

The fact that modern technology is being used to monitor and enhance productivity, will naturally also add to the Brand value. Better products and better services provided to the customer will also increase the brand value. All this would have a direct impact on the employee morale which in turn would lead to even better productivity!!!


How is the Privacy of the Employee getting impacted by Employee monitoring?

Definitely, just like advantages, there are certain disadvantages to the practice of employee monitoring like the ones discussed below:

1] Big Brother watching

This feeling of Big Brother watching and being under continuous scrutiny is going to be a matter of irritation since one no longer feels free to be one’s own self. Thus there is the additional pressure of this being watched feeling. This adds to the emotional and mental stress due to already existing work pressure.


2] Employee Morale

Employee morale can also take a beating if wrongly implemented. The feeling of being watched brings in a feeling of mistrust and then one tends to behave in a manner that shows off good behavior because they have to in order to avoid uncomfortable situations.


3] Legal Ropewalk

These systems would invariably have an element of grey shades of legality. This issue of Privacy is a sensitive one and naturally has interpretations that are likely to have some resistance, this needs to be taken into account and planned as to how management would want to deal with it. It is best to have clarity upfront in terms of policies and training programs to help the workforce understand the concept and why it is being implemented.


How can management meet the challenge of implementing Employee Monitoring?

Change management is an important aspect of management function. In today’s world organizations need to be agile and nimble-footed to be in a position to adapt to the changes in the business environment. To do so it is important to ensure that the workforce is attuned to be open-minded and flexible to changes and experiments to help the management implement new changes and gauge the impact. Thus forethought and planning are very essential before taking a leap here. The world is getting better connected, it is time organizations don’t get left behind!!

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