Employee Monitoring Trends in 2024
2023 has been quite a ride for technology enthusiasts, with AI dominating a good amount of debates and conversations. It has also been a year where organisations have looked to improve upon their operational workflows in the backdrop of different working setups.
But one thing that has remained the same, or perhaps become even more profound across discussions, is the notion of ensuring excellent work productivity. It's here that the use of the right employee monitoring solutions becomes prudent.
As enterprises strive to improve workplace productivity, they must be aware of what's transpiring in the employee monitoring space going into 2024.
Things are evolving for good!
1. The Focus on Privacy
According to Gartner, large organisations will dedicate more than $2.5 million annually to ensure privacy in the face of evolving regulations. The consulting giant also predicts that privacy regulations will guard 75% of the world population's personal data by 2024.
In the employee monitoring space, this has a significant bearing. The concept of employee surveillance has always been a matter of profound discourse across continents. That's why we see various regulations like GDPR in Europe and CCPA in the USA governing how organisations use employees' data. And this is understandable, considering the several security implications associated with the housing of sensitive data. There's also the "employee consent" element that needs to be considered here.
So, what can be expected in the employee monitoring space as data regulations become rather pervasive and more stringent? Well, there are two ways to look at it:
The strategic perspective in how organisations go about their employee monitoring activities
The technology perspective that takes into account the underlying technical infrastructure and how it lends security support to the surveillance initiatives
On the operational strategy end, more organisations will incline towards:
Comprehensive policy development that takes into account the legal and ethical constraints of employee surveillance
Involving employees in discussions about monitoring productivity. Fostering trust and transparency will be key here because employees would want their personal data to be private, and understandably so. In a recent survey, about 93% of employees displayed concern about their personal data in the face of distributed working models. Although this survey was specific to India, it would be safe to assume that this is, in fact, a reflection of what's ahead for the world.
Seeking external expert consultation to gauge the employee monitoring practices and see if they are in line with the evolving regulations
Regularly reviewing the productivity improvements across the board to understand if the practice is working and what needs to improve to ensure the privacy of data
The cloud vs on-premise debate has been raging for years now. For the most part, on-premise solutions have taken a back seat owing to the multiple benefits in terms of flexibility, scalability, accessibility, etc., that cloud brings to the table.
However, there's a growing trend of organisations now preferring on-premise solutions for use cases where sensitive data is involved. To substantiate this further, we've seen some of our clients and potential clients inclining towards CleverControl On-Premise — a full-blown employee monitoring platform with all the functionalities of its cloud counterpart.
This inclination can be attributed to the fact that on-premise deployments allow enterprises to store the data in-house and lay out a concrete strategy for information handling. They're typically better equipped with such a solution when they operate in highly regulated sectors like healthcare, finance, etc.
This is not to say that cloud deployments are any less. In fact, they have been the go-to solutions for a number of years now, and the entry barrier to using a cloud-powered employee monitoring program is fairly low. But some organisations have also started exploring the options on the on-premise end, and this could spell a definite IT infrastructure trend going into 2024.
2. Detailed, More Nuanced Productivity Insights
This year, Microsoft announced the integration of Copilot (the Generative AI solution) with the Microsoft Power Platform. The Power Platform constitutes a variety of apps associated with coding, website creation, etc.
But to keep the current discourse specific, let's focus on one of the apps, i.e., Power BI. It's a popular business intelligence solution. Copilot's introduction to Power BI meant two things:
- Users can just describe the insights they are seeking via statements/questions, and Power BI will instantly present the most pertinent data.
- Copilot will create highly tailored summaries and reports of the analytics initiatives that an enterprise has undertaken.
Now, consider the realm of employee surveillance. Organisations are invariably looking to improve operational efficiency by toning down time and effort wastage. They have had employee monitoring solutions in place that generate insights based on productivity patterns. But now, they can do more with less.
Organisations will now be able to interact with the tool in natural language, seek highly specific insights (in the form of visualisations), and brainstorm with the tool to map out a strategic plan for, say, amplifying the employing productivity even more.
In that light, here are some example scenarios that can transpire very soon:
- Imagine engaging with the employee monitoring tool in natural language and being very specific with your queries—for example—"What are the productivity improvements for Team A in October as compared to September and August?"
- Imagine the monitoring solution automatically alerting about productivity spikes or time theft alongside a rationale that could have let this happen. No manual configuration needed!
- Imagine creating hyper-personalised productivity reports for different departments at the click of a button.
Indeed, the possibilities are manifold. Of course, this doesn't mean that the space will evolve exactly as the scenarios depict. Everything will depend on what users seek and how Gen AI's inclusion is able to address that while working within the existing technology setup. However, one thing's clear: there will be a lot of value-add.
For the sake of optimism, this prediction from McKinsey is one to abide by:
"Generative AI could add the equivalent of $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion annually across the 63 use cases we analysed—by comparison, the United Kingdom's entire GDP in 2021 was $3.1 trillion."
3. Progressive Monitoring for Improving Employee Experience
The good thing about employee surveillance today is that it's not just about bringing forth a set of performance metrics and basing every decision on that. In our conversations with C-level executives, we have seen them realise and relay that there may be different reasons for low productivity—professional and personal. They also consider how the workplace models have changed over the past two or three years. And so, not everything needs to be the same.
So, how can progressive monitoring pan out going forward?
Real-Time Feedback Sharing
Safe to say, the annual, bi-annual, and even quarterly reviews are losing their sheen in the face of real-time feedback mechanisms. The employee monitoring solutions today facilitate extensive data analysis. Through the help of AI, they can also aid in predictive analytics. Such insights can easily inform what improvements need to be made and where employees have performed well.
Using these insights to have a real-time dialogue with employees is key to ushering in a climate of transparency and motivation. This way, employee monitoring doesn't seem to be an ailing endeavour in the eyes of employees. Instead, they see it as a viable intervention for bringing out the best in themselves.
Experimenting with Non-Traditional Methods
At the start of this year, we published a study about an extra day off helped increase employee productivity by 5%. We surveyed several of our clients who experimented with the 4-day workweek to understand if they had seen any potential improvements that the media has been raving about. The findings were intriguing. In fact, one of the clients reported the active time to have increased to 79% from 71% within one week of implementation.
CleverControl was instrumental all through this experiment because our clients were documenting all the productivity improvements by analysing the active and inactive time recorded on the solution.
At the end of the experiment, a host of enterprises noted significant productivity improvements. The experimentation, backed by a monitoring solution, paved the way for unprecedented insights into what could work well for the workforce.
Going forward, as employee monitoring solutions become more sophisticated, organisations will get more leeway to see if different setups could work well to engage and motivate employees. For those who'll be taking the initiative in this experimentation, it will pave the way for progressive monitoring in 2024 and beyond.
A lot can be thought of in terms of the employee monitoring trends that can transpire over the next few years. Technological interventions like predictive analytics, Generative AI, facial recognition, and more are already making their way into surveillance solutions. But there is also the qualitative side, where organisations need to ensure that their internal policies are in line with what their employees expect, especially in the face of distributed working models.
Striking a balance between the two will help enterprises leverage the potential of new-age employee monitoring solutions in amplifying productivity to a great extent.
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