Psychological perceptions of employee monitoring systems

According to the research of American Management Association and The ePolicy of 1,627 surveyed managers, 82% said they use certain form of electronic controlling and monitoring. In 63%, the management tracks access to Internet resources, and about 47% review the e-mail of subordinates.

Employee monitoring is an effective tool among crisis managers and leaders. The main task of the management is to increase the efficiency of the business and its profitability. And to achieve this, a competent leader must be focused on the issue of the “human factor”.

Advantages of implementing monitoring systems

The staff monitoring system allows solving a number of problems in the company:

  • violations of labour discipline,
  • negligent attitude of employees towards their work,
  • loss of working time to wrong sites and applications,
  • frequent and long breaks, absence from work,
  • information security of the company,
  • monitoring of remote employees,
  • solving of disputable situations in the collective,
  • employee loyalty test.

But often the fear of losing employees loyalty keeps the managers from implementing an automatic monitoring system.

Classification of control systems perception by an employee

эмоции сотрудников

Many have heard or watched a popular talk show in which several people live in a confined space under the supervision of the Big Brother. The house is filled with security cameras that watch participant’s every move 24 hours a day. Disobedience to the rules threatens to be sent home.

The reaction of participants to such total surveillance is different: positive (some form of exhibitionism), neutral or total rejection and the desire to avoid this spying.

There are also three types of response to the implementation of employee monitoring among the subordinates:

Positive — the staff encounter the implementation of the system with joy.

Neutral — employees do not protest against the implementation of the system, but also do not enjoy it.

Negative — a sharply negative attitude, up to the desire to quit. Even the easiest forms of control cause rejection.

Why staff responses are different

восприятие систем мониторингаEmployees perceive control as a sign of distrust on the part of the manager. They oppose this, what already has a negative impact on the work.

Some of the staff are afraid that the monitoring system will disclose to the manager the facts about their violations in the workplace. For that follows the sanctions, up to and including dismissal.

Some employees worry about their personal data, which are willy-nilly linked to their working computer (personal correspondence, passwords).

Although in recent years, staff relations to work monitoring have changed from negative to neutral. According to the openspace.ru. 60% of respondents believe that spying at work is a norm and are neutral to it, 20% of respondents in general stated that they are pleasant to be watched and 20% are negative.

To ensure the successful implementation of the monitoring system help the following rules:

  1. Carry out the preparatory work. If previously monitoring methods were not used, explain what motivated the company to do so. Explain to the staff that the matter is not in reducing trust, but in the new tasks of the company. This can be a reduction of costs, suppression of information theft, business optimization, fraud prevention. Give examples of other companies that have solved these or those problems with the help of monitoring systems.
  2. Feedback. After employees learn about the management’s decision to monitor their work, organize feedback with them: the opportunity to voice doubts, ask questions, express dissatisfaction. This will reduce the amount of conjecture, as well as protect from the problem with valuable employees. Better to do this anonymously. So you will see the real picture.
  3. Let the lawyer explain the legislative part of the question: is it legal or not?
  4. Tell your employees about the benefits of implementing monitoring systems. The advantages of implementing a system for monitoring the work of staff are not obvious for employees, but they are:
    – fair distribution of bonuses and penalties
    – the ability to organize the workflow so that it does not force you to linger after work or do not complete the tasks at the weekend
    – prevention of thefts of the customer base
    – monitoring the workload of employees and getting rid of ovetime
  5. Establish clear boundaries and rules for what will be monitored.

Explaining the goals and benefits of implementing monitoring by available words to employees, it is possible to minimize resistance and gain maximum understanding from the staff.

Often managers monitor the work of employees using video cameras, installing them so that the screen of the employee’s computer can be seen. The method is expensive and causes a negative reaction from the staff. After all, it’s one thing when work on a work computer is being fixed, and quite another is to be under the camera’s eye during the whole working time.

Another popular way of monitoring work is to use spyware. But it’s illegal. Their installation can not only lead to mass dismissal, but also turn into huge fines and lawsuits for the company itself.

The best solution for controlling employees’ monitors will be the installation of a time tracking system. Such programs fix the beginning and the end of work, periods of inactivity, lunch break, time for tea and coffee. They not only show visited sites, used programs on a work computer, but also make screenshots that are grouped by keywords (for example, job search, selling a database).

At the same time, such programs are not spyware, as they do not collect personal data about employees.

Organizing the control of employees, it is important to clearly define and voice its goals to the team, so as not to remain without valuable personnel and keep the friendly working atmosphere within the team.

An example of a manager’s appeal to employees when implementing a monitoring system

You can start with a compliment to employees, creating a positive attitude.

Dear employees!
Thank you for your work, which allows us, even in difficult times, to go forward and achieve our goals.

We strive to be the best in our field and reach a new peak every day.

Many of you have heard about what happened in the company “X”. They had a client database stolen and sold. Now things in the company are not going well, the staff was significantly reduced.

We want to implement a system for monitoring the work of personnel in order to avoid such a problem. Such a system was introduced by our business partners and this allowed to improve the work of the company, and employees received an increase to the salary.

I know some people are concerned about your personal data. The monitoring system that we have chosen does not collect confidential information. So for your passwords you can be calm.

The monitoring system will record your arrival and departure from work, lunch. Do not worry for the breaks for “tea-cigarettes”, unless of course if they will last for half an hour.

The monitoring system records the running time of the programs being launched and periodically takes screenshots. The management does not follow you, but strengthens information security. There are no penalties for reading the article on the Internet. I understand that everyone needs a few minutes to relax from work.

And now about the benefits of implementation.

We will be able to see who really deserves the bonuses.

Overtime will be an exception due to an equitable distribution of tasks.

If you have any questions or wishes, the company’s management is ready to consider them. My office is open for conversation, or you can write a letter anonymously or with a signature.
Thank you for attention!

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