Humans are complicated. Most people behave themselves most of the time. But there are occasions when even the most virtuous and rational among us slip up.
For that reason, employers need to have their wits about them. Employees are, for the most part, aligned with their goals and values. But, occasionally, they can slip up in ways you would never imagine or predict. It is vital, therefore, that executives keep a wary eye on their workers, even if it means surveillance.
Company surveillance typically conjures up images of Big Brother and all the negative connotations associated with the famous George Orwell novel. But, in reality, recording what happens in a business is as much about protecting reputations as it is catching people doing wrong. Workers want to know that they have recourse should somebody accuse them of a crime.
As a company, therefore, knowing what your are doing is critical. But, even so, the vast majority of executives don’t have a clue what is happening on the ground. There’s a disconnect between boardroom meetings and the shop floor, and relatively few of the top brass ever straddle the gulf. And that means that there’s a lack of information flowing to the upper echelons. The C-suite often has no idea what’s going on further down the chain of command.
Not knowing what your employees are doing while they represent your business is a serious business risk. Throughout history, we’ve seen examples of dozens of firms suffering massive hits to their reputations because senior management didn’t know what was happening at lower tiers. The blow to profits can be enormous, and some brands never recover at all.
But how can you find out what employees are doing while you’re not looking? And how can you protect them from allegations of misconduct, should someone accuse them of wrongdoing?
Table of Contents
Create A Computer Tracking Policy
Nobody wants to work for a company that tracks their every movement online. But due to the risks on the internet, it is becoming increasingly important to do so. Even employees recognize this fact more these days. They see tracking and individual logins as a way to retain control over the narrative surrounding their activities.
There are dozens of computer tracking solutions out there, so finding something that suits the needs of your business shouldn’t be too great a challenge. You need solutions that enable you to keep tabs on what employees are doing on their devices while and at the same time maintaining privacy if you operate a BYOD policy.
Search Publicly Available Information On Social Media
A lot of companies make a habit of tracking their employees on social media. The rationale for doing this is usually to ensure that they’re not misrepresenting the company. But you can also use it as a source for providing tip-offs for possible wrongdoing.
Install Dash Cams
For some companies, the task of keeping tabs on employees is made all the more difficult by the fact that they spend most of their time away from the office in vehicles. There’s no real way for management to keep track of what they’re doing one day to the next, save for literally following them around.
Fleet dash cameras, therefore, have become something of a go-to solution. Companies use
them all the time, both to monitor events on the road, and in the cabin.
Remember, cabin monitoring is essential. It is valuable evidence that you can provide insurers to prove that your drivers were concentrating on the road in the event of an accident. Plus, it provides you with material for conducting objective disciplinaries, should you find a driver flouting company rules.
Keeping track of what your employees are doing with their time is vital, and so surveillance is becoming more critical. But the driving force behind widespread adoption isn’t as sinister as it sounds. Superficially, it appears that the only reason companies engage in this type of activity is to prevent theft, fraud, and misbehavior and encourage discipline. But when you delve a little deeper into the data, you discover something different. The firms that engage in monitoring also tend to offer management practices that enhance productivity. In other words, control is an outgrowth of HR techniques proven to benefit workers overall.
Monitoring appears to affect productivity too. Workers don’t necessarily use their time nefariously. But many get into the habit of wasting it if given free rein. Top brass, therefore, can see steep improvements in output per hour, just by making simple changes to how they collect data on their employees. Knowing that somebody could be watching you is a powerful motivator.
What’s more, there’s evidence that employees derive a lot of satisfaction for this kind of thing. Being monitored is the kick up the backside that a lot of workers need to work hard and make the most of each day. For those with chronic procrastination problems, it is a godsend and can help them move their career forwards.
It is critical, however, that management and owners make monitoring two-way. You don’t want it to feel as if there are different classes of people in your organization – people who need watching, and people who don’t. That sort of thing is unfair and creates resentment. Management should get on board with the program and be transparent about their own activities if they want to get their people on side. Plus, the monitoring data should be as readily available for people higher up in the organization as it is for those who are lower down.
Finally, when you know what your employees are doing while you’re not looking, you’re able to reward them more. In some lines of work, it is not always possible to discern the real value of a worker. Managers can sometimes sense that an employee is valuable. Still, unless they have data, it is difficult to make concrete decisions about pay. Monitoring, therefore, is a critical evidence-collection tool you can use to justify raises.