Employee Monitoring or Surveillance?
Time management is a very important part of organizing work process in any company. However, if some managers tend to turn a blind eye to some employees’ liberties, others use method of total control. But which approach is more productive and does not go too far, you can find out from this article.
For Whom the Liberties Are Inexcusable?
According to experts, there are three types of employees in any company. They are high-performing specialists, average employees who perform their duties “OK”, and those who cannot fulfill plans and regularly violate discipline. And to each of these employees the executives should have different approache. "It is clear that you can turn a blind eye to rare cases of valuable professional employees being late,” says Business Professor Sara Ramos, “regarding the second category you have to keep track of any lateness, find out its reason, and, depending on how relevant the reason is, make an appropriate decision. Reprimand is possible in these cases.
If the employee is late repeatedly and the reason for it is insignificant, reprimand may stimulate employee to correct his or her behavior and improve the quality of work. Ignoring these facts, on the contrary, will be the incentive to further negligence and the subsequent lateness. If the reason for lateness is valid, the employee can be forgiven." You should use a different tactic with consistent discipline violators. In this case, a reprimand is required, but with feedback. "Allowed number of discipline violations is different in every company, they must be governed by the Code of Business Conduct and corporate standards,” says Sara Ramos, “The more there are individual interpretations regarding this issue, the more it provokes negligent employees."
Experts note that the point is not in the amount of time for which the employee is late but regularity of the lateness. That is what ultimately leads to a decrease in productivity. "The lateness can be either systematic or a rare exception in employee’s behavior,” says blogger Jesse Allen, “Punishment for it is appropriate when the employee does it repeatedly and has not taken any measures to eliminate the reasons for lateness. However, it is recommended to sometimes help the employee to figure out the reasons and help him or her improve punctuality."
Methods of Control
In addition to lateness, productivity can be significantly reduced by employees bringing up personal matters during working hours. As pointed out by executives, the most “resourceful” employees can even start their own business and take resources away from the company, like stealing customers, for example. "The activity of any employee can be both productive and unproductive,” says CleverControl Project leader Christopher Hughes, “If SMM-marketing manager spends time in Facebook, he or she works towards development of the company. And if the same thing is done by a programmer, it's a personal matter. The same way, job search websites when visited by an HR-manager become a tool for solving company’s problems but when visited by a seller they become a sign of employee’s intention to leave." Thus, for each profession there is its own list of productive and unproductive programs and websites.
For employee monitoring executives can use special systems for collecting information on their subordinates. This method is particularly relevant for IT and SMM employees. "Specifics of SMM-manager’s job are that the result of each step can be monitored well ahead,” says Jesse Allen, “you do not even need to distract the employee, because the statistics is open and updated constantly. It is clear when he or she is most active as well as inactive. In addition, the result is clearly visible which allows making adjustments." The monitoring itself is invisible to the employee so he or she cannot say at what moments exactly the control was carried out, and presumes that it is constant. This motivates to always work efficiently.
"In discussions with our customers we have identified a kind of a threshold - 80% of the working time should be spent on work tasks,” says Christopher Hughes, “the rest of the time can be spent on breaks, personal issues and leisure. By the way, it is necessary to encourage employees to not rest in front of their computers. It is best to go outside and get some fresh air."
Tyranny or optimization?
In order not to go too far in employee monitoring and not to be considered the executive tyrant, experts recommend to use tracking systems only for the optimization of business processes, but not to punish or accuse employees. "If an employee spends too much time on entertainment websites, you should give him or her more work tasks, - says the founder of StarrCounter Jacob Rogers. - If an employee is always late to work, never stays late in the office and does not fulfill the assigned tasks in time, then he or she is way behind the colleagues and does not deserve bonuses. And if he or she will be notified about it in the beginning of the month, then this employee will probably try not to make mistakes. Therefore, in order not to go too far with monitoring, it is necessary to rid employees from all the fears and misunderstandings at the stage of system’s implementation, in order to establish clear rules and purpose of the use of this monitoring." In any case, the employee monitoring standards adopted by the company should not cause protests in the team.
"An employee has to learn about it in the process of being hired, and hence to accept the rules. There is no productivity without control, and this should be configured in details to save the time. The punishment for a violation should be inevitable, as well as a reward for good performance," says Jesse Allen.