Employee tracking is a highly disputed workplace issue. Employers love this technology since it helps boost employee productivity. However, employees detest the idea of having their personal space compromised to increase their work output.
Prioritizing one over the other — employee privacy over productivity or vice-versa — is often the easy choice. However, favouring one over the other isn’t a good business decision. So how can a business strike the right balance? Let’s find out!
Be proactive and transparent
A 2022 New York Times report says eight of 10 biggest private American business organizations monitor their employees’ productivity. This statistic is quite alarming, but if you want to avoid being in conflict with your workforce, you must be transparent about your intentions. This will help boost morale and ensure that employee tracking doesn’t adversely affect productivity.
To break the privacy vs productivity dilemma, you must be completely transparent with employees about what you’re tracking and why. Essential to creating workplace transparency is fostering good communication.
If you want to track their performance, be sure to let them know that there’s a system in place. This will allow them to ask questions and gain more clarity on what they need to do.
If the performance management software is there to help employees, let them know how it can benefit them. You can also conduct training sessions so everyone knows how to use the app and what data will be gathered.
Rethink your workplace policies
Make sure your employee tracking policy is always compliant with the law. It’s essential to inform employees about what you do and why, especially if they’re going to be tracked. You can also create a list of rules for using the app and decide how long you will store data before it’s deleted.
If you use a tool that collects employee data, ensure it’s encrypted and only accessible by the right people. If an employee uses their personal device for work purposes, ensure they have a separate password and account on that device so that employees can only access work-related data.
These are the things you need to check when it comes to workplace policy on employee privacy:
- What kind of data do you collect from employees?
- Do you need to store that information after they leave the company?
- Where is this data stored, and how secure is it? Is the data on the app encrypted?
- Can only those with the proper access see it?
- Are employees informed about how they’re being tracked and why?
- Do they know what information is being collected and its usage?
- Is there a process for handling employee requests to access or correct their data?
Suppose your company uses file-sharing apps like Google Drive, OneDrive, or popular Dropbox alternatives. Your company policies should cover how specific files should be stored, shared, and accessed, including timeframes for deletion, etc. Having clear guidelines on file management will help avoid preventable issues from emerging.
Set clear guidelines about what you’re tracking and why
Set reasonable limits on what you track. You can’t just track anything you want. When you set up the tracking, ensure you set clear guidelines about what you’re monitoring and why.
For instance, if you have a marketing team that is using a tool to track social media mentions, ensure they’re only tracking relevant mentions of your company and product.
If you have a sales team that uses a tool to track sales leads, ensure it’s only tracking leads with a potential buyer on them so that people aren’t wasting their time following up on dead ends.
Suppose you have a content team composed of editors and content creators. Consider setting up a tool that tracks how many pieces of content were created, how many views each article received, and the number of shares or likes on each piece. You can also see which parts performed best and use that information for future campaigns.
Consider employee needs
To strike a balance, a 2022 Harvard Business Review study found that implementing a monitoring system should be a two-way process. Employers should work with employees to define and agree on the circumstances when surveillance is appropriate — and then respect those guidelines.
It is a given fact that nobody wants to be put under surveillance, much more when they’re doing their jobs. However, business owners need some form of assurance that their employees are doing their jobs well and that they’re not wasting time.
It would help if you also took the time to see the privacy-productivity predicament from your employee’s vantage point. If your employees feel like they’re constantly being watched, it will be hard for them to perform their best.
You may have a few bad apples on your hands who are using the company’s resources for personal gain, but trying to catch these people in the act could be counterproductive if it leads to an atmosphere of mistrust among your staff and creates engagement challenges. To avoid this problem, you can install a tool that allows employees to track their productivity while still allowing them some privacy. In this way, everyone wins.
Keeping employees in the loop will keep expectations clear, stay productive, and maintain a clean record of privacy practices. Employee productivity can be sustained with proper time management, so you must also extend help to them in this aspect.
Choose technology that you can implement gradually
Using a third-party time-tracking tool will make things easier for everyone. This way, you can begin with a simple solution and add features later as your needs grow.
For example, when you first deploy the tool, only require employees to log their daily start and end times. Then, as time passes and you’re ready to implement more advanced features (such as activity tracking), turn those features on in the settings.
If you have a small team, you may be unable to fully afford the time needed to adopt a new system. In this case, it’s better to start with an initial solution that will give you some essential insights into how people are spending their time.
Once your staff has gotten used to this new way of tracking their work hours, you can gradually expand your use of the tool and implement more features as needed.
And to further boost employee performance, you must provide them with the best technology tools they need to deliver excellent work. Before purchasing, consult a list of best productivity tools from reliable software review sites and online marketplaces.
Takeaway: A Balanced Productivity and Privacy in Your Workplace is Achievable
There you have it, five expert tips on how to strike a balance between privacy and productivity while using an employee tracking tool. Remember that to maintain a healthy work environment for your employees, you must provide them with the best tools for tracking their work hours. This will help you increase productivity and minimize any adverse effects of using employee monitoring software.
There are clever ways to track your employees, and there are dumb ways to track your employees. You can make a choice now.
About the author:
Natasha is a content marketing specialist who thinks it's kind of fun creating content marketing strategies for SaaS businesses. In her free time, she likes spending time watching Netflix.
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