Employee monitoring apps have become a norm in the corporate industry. A staggering percentage of employers use these tools to track employee behavior to improve productivity and boost results. They also ensure accountability and compliance in the workforce.
While the advantages of using employee monitoring tools are undeniable, they are said to pose some ethical issues, primarily concerning the privacy of the employees. But with a thoughtful approach to surveillance, these problems can be dealt with an iron hand, allowing employers to monitor their employees without invading their privacy.
Common Problems With Employee Monitoring
1. Invasion of privacy:
One of the biggest concerns employees have about the usage of a monitoring app is an invasion of their privacy and fear of being spied on. It's natural to feel apprehensive about your every move being recorded. It's fine to surveil employee behavior during active work hours. But employees could consider it an invasion of privacy if the same is done during break hours when they could surf the internet for leisure or use social media.
However, if employers are transparent about the use of the monitoring app with their employees, the latter could rest easy. For instance, employers should inform all the employees during on-boarding that they will be under monitoring. Moreover, employee tracking apps should only be installed on office computers so the employees can use social media on office property at their own risk.
2. Low employee morale:
Employees could experience low morale if they're constantly under the watchful eye of their employers. They could feel that their employers don't trust them enough, and it could prevent them from establishing a good rapport with their bosses. It could also lead to difficulty retaining employees since mutual trust takes a hit when the employees know they will be under constant scrutiny.
Nevertheless, employers can develop mutual trust and professional relationships with their employees. They can achieve it by communicating the boundaries of scrutiny with the employees. Moreover, tracking could serve to monitor the workforce or a team rather than focus on individuals.
If employers track departments collectively, no single employee is under the spotlight, and productivity is enhanced. This approach maintains the fine line between monitoring employees and spying on them. In addition, the manager could overlook a few occasions of non-work browsing to avoid employee dissatisfaction. Only in cases that indeed mandate a strict action should the employee be called out for their computer-related activities.
3. The threat of leakage:
While using computers and software, the threat of hacking is ever-looming. At times, you can take all the precautions in the world but still become the victim of hacking, which could lead to data leakage.
It's likely that during the monitoring, you accidentally save your employees' personal information in the database, such as private messages and email and bank account details. If your system gets hacked, your personal information could fall into the wrong hands and be misused without your knowledge. It can pose an immense risk to the employees, which is why the use of monitoring tools is a grave concern for them.
However, with smart monitoring practices, one can avoid these risks. One way of doing this is to brief the employees on what computer-related activities you will monitor. Warn them that they should refrain from giving out their personal information on office computers.
For instance, if you plan to keep track of the employees' keystrokes using a keylogger, you can inform the staff beforehand. This way, they can avoid typing their personal information on the office computers during work hours (which is usually when the surveillance system is active).
How Can Employee Monitoring Be Done Ethically?
CleverControl is an employee monitoring tool that believes in an ethical approach to monitoring. With honest policy, monitoring can benefit both the managers and the employees. We encourage businesses to strike a perfect balance between monitoring the employees to maintain high productivity and keeping their privacy intact by only tracking what is absolutely necessary and beneficial to the company. To that end, there are a few ways you can monitor your employees ethically.
1. Do not monitor employees outside of working hours:
What employees do after they finish work shouldn't be the employer's concern. Once the shift is over, it's best to disable the software to avoid stumbling upon private messages of your employees, their social media behavior, or sensitive data.
If disabling the tracker after work hours isn't feasible, you can forbid your employees from using the office device for personal purposes. If they do it, that's on them. This approach would also give them a sense of control over what gets tracked and what doesn't.
2. Limit screenshots to work-related websites only:
You can limit the websites and apps of which you take the screenshots, so you don't accidentally screen capture anything that might contain the personal information or messages of the employees. Such limitation would also keep the employees at ease, knowing that you monitor only their work-related activities.
It would keep them focused on improving productivity rather than worrying about giving up personal data irrelevant to the company.
3. Using data only for business improvement:
Ideally, you should use the collected data for improving the business or the productivity of the company, rather than monitoring just because the option is available or to spy on the employees. Ethical usage of data will help you in promoting business interests, as well as putting the worries of your employees at rest.
For example, if you've noticed the low productivity of your employees, you can look into the screenshots and other data. It will help you to pinpoint the dwindling productivity and deal with it by being honest and straightforward with your employees. No particular need to know how much time your employee has been spending on social media if they are maintaining ideal productivity levels.
CleverControl promotes the employees' data privacy while ensuring that employers get all the data they need to keep the productivity levels as expected.