Slacker as a Symptom

Slacker as a Symptom

Many employers believe that building a team is their sole purpose. But IT-developers believe that the team should be periodically tested for the presence of idlers According to statistics, in companies with more than 50 people 38% of the time employees spend on their direct responsibilities, 36% - on work-related issues and 26% - on non-definable activities.

These figures come from the developers of CleverControl employee monitoring software. According to them the idea for the program came from the realization that any business runs well under one condition - when all employees are honest and responsible. Two companies in the same market with equal initial conditions can have dramatically different results, because one commercial director was honest, and the other one got additional income from companies’ competitors.

Surveillance Is Growing

"We thought about how to give managers a reliable tool for understanding who is who in the team: who is actually working and who just talks about it," says one of the lead developers Mark Masters. Then they realized that it should be a software product, devoid of subjectivity “When we started to introduce our product, it seemed that companies are full of lazy and unscrupulous people,” laughs Mark, “but then we realized that, if employees spend a lot of time on non-business-related websites, or write personal emails this means that some business processes are not properly aligned.”

For example, the marketing department, for whatever reasons, has provided salespeople with only a 1000 contacts, although they could contact a much larger number of customers. The target was reached and the next month it was set for exactly the same number, so the sales team just keeps working at half strength, and the program can register such cases.

In other words, not all companies are able to determine the maximum level of results that can be demanded from employees. "Our program should not encourage managers to use punitive measures. Dismissing a person is the easiest thing you can do. Instead we need to figure out the reason of slacking, as experience shows that the majority of people start aimlessly browsing the Internet only when they quickly finish all the tasks at hand or when they do not have clear objectives." Often, there are other situations - in which it is not possible to administer justice without monitoring systems, according to the developer.

"For example, in any company’s sales department there is always an employee who beats the target and one who cannot. But sometimes, surprisingly, it turns the former one spends much time on sites unrelated to work tasks, but the latter does not. In fact, he or she only uses the Internet for work-related browsing. The explanation is simple: the first one works only with old familiar clients who want to renew the contracts, and the second one is left with cold calling new clients."

Benefit of Control

IT-developers believe that employee monitoring is not a bad thing, but a great opportunity to understand the problem. "I will not say that monitoring never causes a negative reaction. It does and sometimes even leads to employee dismissal, but the program has always been intended as a tool for motivation," says Mark.

According to him today the number one enemy of productivity is non-work-related online resources, such as social networks. Studies show that an employee requires about 23 minutes for re-focusing on his or her task after a distraction. "Another problem is smoking,” says Mark, “it is obvious that people who smoke get distracted more often than non-smokers. And for that our program includes recording of periods of activity and inactivity during the working hours."

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