What is Employee Monitoring Software?
What do we mean when we talk about employee monitoring?
Employee monitoring is all the ways a company tracks and protects its biggest asset—you!
Almost all companies, 78% of them to be exact, have implemented some way in which they monitor employees’ activities. It can be as a simple as signing daily time sheets to as complex as wearable health-tracking devices, but most companies focus on digital monitoring systems that track email use and internet activity. Tracking workers’ time, work habits and behaviors and sometimes even their locations, protects not only the company against liability, but also their investment in human capital. With internet-tracking software and other forms of tracking, both the company and the employee are held accountable for what happens when on the clock.
Employee monitoring gives companies the opportunity to analyze what works best, when employees are most productive and how to best delegate tasks and projects. Companies that successfully use employee monitoring programs develop strategies that increase productivity and efficiency, overall job satifaction and most importantly, experience growth in profits and revenue.
Types of Employee Monitoring
Technology innovation has allowed businesses a wide range in options to track workers’ activities. Most workplace surveillance is done through computer software; however, companies also tap their telephone systems, install video and audio surveillance, and attach GPS location devices to company vehicles and equipment.
Internet, Email and Other Computer Activities
Most companies that monitor report that they keep tabs on employees’ internet activity above any other workplace activity. Internet tracking is usually done through a software program that is purchased and installed on company-owned workstations. These programs log how much time is spent online and on the various computer applications employees use. They report which websites are being visited, how long people are spending on productive work, and when a computer is idle. Some of them capture URLs, some capture screenshots, and some even record key strokes.
Nearly half of the companies that monitor its employees keep copies of all emails sent through the companies’ network and that are stored on the companies’ own servers. Email messages are considered official documents by law and will stand up as legitimate evidence in court. Companies are smart to monitor employee email to minimize the risk of liability, as well as detect insider threats of potential data leaks and breaches.
Keylogging is a software program that records what keys a user is typing on the keyboard. These programs can also capture screenshots when triggered by set keywords. Keylogging, when used correctly, can be implemented in positive ways, like helping parents secure their children’s safe use of the internet. However, keylogging is notorious for malicious intent. Keylogging programs capture and save sensitive and personal information like passwords, bank account information, private messages, credit card numbers, PIN numbers and user names.
Services provided by ActivTrak will capture screenshots, URLs and real-time internet and application activity, but never key strokes. For an employee-moinitoring system to work in harmony with company goals and employees’ productivity, an employee must feel trusted to work independently without feeling like their privacy is invaded.
Often when you call customer support of any service provider or retail company, before speaking to a customer service representative, you will hear a recorded message alerting you that the phone call is recorded. Any company that has a customer support call center or has employees that have phone contact with vendors, clients or customers and don’t monitor telephone calls are missing out on a tremendous opportunity for growth and quality assurance.
It makes a lot of sense for employers who provide a company car or for delivery, courier and postal companies to use location-based technologies to monitor where their employees are. These are used for navigation, recovering property and equipment, plan most efficient routes, and safety.
Who Embraces Employee Monitoring?
Employee monitoring isn’t about supervision, it’s about success.
Employee monitoring in all its different forms is currently over a $200 million industry and growing rapidly. In the next few years, we will see more companies investing in software and other solutions that track workers’ activities. Employee monitoring has come a long way in the last few years. Companies are using the latest technologies to do way more than just block social media and shopping websites.
Highly successful companies that are data-driven use employee monitoring systems to analyze employee behavior and to not only protect the privacy of employees and clients, but to protect the company from data loss as well. Successful companies who take employee monitoring metrics seriously have a competitive edge.
Because so much of your company’s success is determined on the people you employee.
It is repeatedly proven that the higher engagement rate of your employees, the more successful your company. People who are fully engaged are motivated to do their best work. Josh Bersin, founder and principal at Bersin by Deloitte and Forbes contributor writes, “Let’s face it. If you’re a CEO or business leader, the only thing you really have is your employees’ commitment and engagement. This is not “one of the things” to worry about, this is “the thing” to worry about.”
Google, Wells Fargo and Best Buy spend huge amounts of time and money collecting data about how their employees work, because they know that employee satifiscation directly correlates with higher sales and revenue. For example, Best Buy found that with just the slightest increase in employee engagement—a 10th of a point—resulted in an increase in revenue of $100,000 annually.
Every two to four years, Gallup uses a scientific method to analyze how employee engagement effects the performance of businesses. Its findings are enlightening.
According to a Gallup Business Journal report:
Gallup’s research also shows that companies with engaged workforces have higher earnings per share (EPS), and they seem to have recovered from the recession at a faster rate. In a recent study, Gallup examined 49 publicly traded companies with EPS data available from 2008-2012 and Q12 data available from 2010 and/or 2011 in its database. This study found that businesses with a critical mass of engaged employees outperformed their competition.
Gallup’s chief scientist of employee engagement and wellbeing, Jim Harter Ph.D., says, “Engaged employees are more attentive and vigilant. They look out for the needs of their coworkers and the overall enterprise, because they personally ‘own’ the result of their work and that of the organization.”
Companies that measure low on the employee engagement scale experience 60% more quality defects and mistakes, lose money from absenteeism, and spend more on hiring and trying to retain workers. $11 billion is lost in the United States annually due to employee turnover and half of the United States workforce reports not being engaged at work. Clearly, it is important to foster a corporate culture in which your team is engaged and satisfied at work.
Having concrete evidence on what your employees’ strengths are, when they are at their peak, when they perform their best, and what applications they have mastered, allows you to better direct a stronger team. A team that is fully engaged in their work and in their company work more efficiently. This results in a higher quality product, happier customers and more sales for you. An employee monitoring system like ActivTrak will help get you there.
To read more about how ActivTrak helps increase focus and productivity, generate more profits, improve communication and focus on top business priorities, click here
How can I Introduce Employee Monitoring in The Workplace
Employee monitoring software can be a welcome component to an employee’s work day. With social networks sites and blogs that are so enticing, the employee activity tracking software will deter employees from branching off into the internet for fun and games during the work day. Even steadfast employees that are seasoned workers with exemplary records may be tempted from time to time to enter the foray of an exciting public forum.
Initially, computer monitoring software may not be readily accepted by employees, particularly those that have many years of employment, before the advent of the internet and social networks. As more and more employers resort to monitoring software as a method to ensure employee productivity, the acceptable practice in mostly all corporate firms and businesses will be to utilize the employee monitoring software.
As employees become accustomed to having their computer activity routinely and consistently monitored, they will automatically become more diligent in their computers use. Knowing that their emails can be read by managers will act as a deterrent to continue sending personal emails to friends, associates and family members throughout the day. Employees will then have to resort to using their home computer to send emails, create a free web site, post to forums and social networks.
After holding several sessions of employee training with regard to the employee monitoring software, it will be recognized that employees, as well as employers, stand to benefit. Employees will be encouraged to become more focused and productive, and to designate specific time frames for work vs. pleasure computer activities.