Dec 5 2009

5 Things to Do Before Monitoring Your Employees

Employee monitoring has existed in many forms since the concept of employment first arose. Throughout history, the development of technology has made it possible to more closely observe the behavior of your employees, and apply stricter control measures over their work.

It’s important for any employer to realize that employee monitoring is a delicate subject, and if you want to avoid a negative backlash from your subordinates, you need to approach it with professionalism and an open mind. Luckily, common sense is often enough to realize when your actions are becoming inappropriate, and if you also follow the simple guidelines listed below, you should be able to use employee monitoring to make your company both more productive and pleasant to work at.

  1. Be open about your intentions. Nobody enjoys being told about a major policy change in the last minute. Warn your employees well in advance that they’re going to be monitored, and make it clear that you’re willing to listen to their opinion about it. It’s important to let your employees know that they can have a say in the monitoring process, so they don’t feel the whole thing is simply being imposed on them.
  2. Outline your rules precisely and accurately. There should be nothing vague and ambiguous about what employees are and aren’t allowed to do in their worktime. The best way to ensure that your employees are adhering to your rules, is to make the rules as clear and understandable as possible.
  3. Be willing to make compromises. From time to time, productivity monitoring may interfere with an employee’s life on a personal level. When this occurs, it’s important to help the employee understand that you value their opinion and are ready to make an exception from the rules. However, be careful as it’s easy to go overboard with this attitude and give your employees too much freedom in controlling the monitoring.
  4. Value your employees’ privacy. Remember, to them, this is an intrusion, no matter how you may see it. While it’s important to get the best out of the monitoring process and increase the company’s productivity, there’s a fine line that you must never cross, where monitoring becomes too intrusive for your employees to feel comfortable. Again, common sense can go a long way in getting this right, but if you want a quick answer about a specific rule or procedure, just put yourself in an employee’s shoes and think about the effects it will have on him/her.
  5. Know who you’re hiring. If you build a reliable working group by carefully screening your candidates, you may not even need to apply monitoring at all. It’s usually better to hire someone with a few years of experience and a professional attitude, and pay them a higher salary, than to vouch for the questionable applicant who’s willing to work for much less – and spend thousands on monitoring software later on.