Automated workforce monitoring systems are gaining popularity. Automated monitors every movement and eliminates the human involvement in scheduling work hours. Big data analytics have enhanced the scope of monitoring the productivity of employees.
Types of employee monitoring
There are multiple types of monitoring systems that employers adopt. Biometric attendance systems, time clocks, smartcards, CCTV cameras, smartphone apps etc., Smartphone apps are especially getting popular wherein people are required to be on the field. It is also suitable for people who work away from their work stations.
Smartphone spy applications track movement using GPS signal. The app will log all the data from the GPS. It will provide a log of the whereabouts of the mobile phone, provided the GPS is on active mode. This is ideal while tracking sales or marketing personnel , it may also come in handy for any other client facing jobs
These smartphones also provide access to data such as the text messages, calls, contact list, in some cases photos and videos. These tracking systems are usually installed especially if the smartphone is company provided. The employer may wish to ensure that there is nothing untoward happening with the company’s assets.
There are softwares for employee monitoring which are enabled to track how many hours are spent on what applications. These are best for tracking the activity from employees who are either work from home candidates or put in part time effort. Feel free to read more on key logger.
Does this have a positive impact on employees?
Employee monitoring can be a tricky thing. Many employees do not take it lightly to such announcements. It is especially hard to transition the existing employees who have not been monitored previously. Some may consider it offensive to be tracked during working hours.
Many companies are promoting self-monitoring. There are companies which do not have timesheets. There are others which require employees to key in only their absence from work. On working days, there is no accountability required. These are initiatives promoted by human resource department. They are of the view that employees should be considered as more than mere spreadsheets.
Experts have argued that employee monitoring may work well especially at the lower levels. The honest and productive employees may find it convenient that the software proves their dedication. This is something that they would not have otherwise been able to showcase.
Do employee monitoring systems offer flexibility?
Employee monitoring systems are used in places where there are rotational shifts to be scheduled. A software system helpselimination of human intervention. This in a way eliminates favouritism or manual errors. However, it also eliminates flexibility; some systems may not allow for too many rule engines to be keyed in.
Smartphone spy applications can become too intrusive. They have access to text messages, photos, videos and contact lists. Although the employer is legal is monitoring these aspects. It violates personal space, thereby creating discomfort for the employee. This may not go down well with the employee, especially in the long run.
Workplace is where maximum amount of time is spent by the employee. It is important to make it as comfortable as possible to enhance productivity. Infact, there are places like Sweden who are reducing the number of hours that the workforce has to clock on a daily basis. They are of the view that lesser number of hours could generate maximum output.
Employee monitoring systems are great at lower levels where the operations are run more by volume. It would also work well where there are incentives based on the amount of work generated. For Sales and marketing personnel, where number of client meetings is crucial, a GPS enabled tracking system would take the weight off them. They may not have to key in data into spread sheets.
Protecting critical data
Many of these systems contain a lot of personal and sensitive data of the employee. For example, a biometric device may have the fingerprints or retina print of the employee. It can be used for criminal purposes or identity thefts. Similarly, smartphone apps also have humungous amount of data which can be used inappropriately. Irate or exiting employees who have access to such sensitive data could misuse such information. There was a recent incident wherein Seagate was sued by it’s staff for leaking employees’ personal information to identity thieves. The HR department was tricked into sharing tax returns of it’s employees.