Managing 101: Four Ways to Effectively Monitor Your Employees

Cool EmployeesYou want to trust your people, and you believe that, for the most part, they do follow the rules. But aside from employee performance, issues of data security, cost containment, and even legal compliance spring to mind, along with the expression, “Trust, but verify.”

Here are some ways you can legally keep tabs on what employees do on company time and devices.

GPS Tracks Who’s Coming and Going

When employees leave the home base, whether they are field supervisors or delivery or sales staff, they may go straight to their destination as planned. Or they may take extra breaks and make unauthorized stops to run personal errands.

Some businesses remove doubt by placing GPS devices in company cars and trucks. Others issue employees company phones that they can track.

In addition to assuring you of your people’s whereabouts, GPS is helpful in other ways. It can help dispatchers determine the best routes, help managers allocate delivery fleet resources, and even help you to recover stolen vehicles and lost phones.

Absence Management Software Tracks Who Shows Up

Although some have attributed billions of dollars in lost productivity to it, many businesses are unaware of the exact costs of absenteeism to their companies. If absences leave you understaffed, your productivity certainly suffers. If you work around them, your overtime costs may soar.

Employers can track and manage employee absence using software that keeps abreast of both planned leave and unplanned missed days. This absence management software enables you to always operate with a full staff, while alerting you to excessive overtime pay. Managers can use the data collected to discover trends or patterns in absences, revealing which departments or individuals are having issues. This software also helps employees to keep track of their own personal and sick days.

Monitoring Software Tracks Computer Usage

Businesses can choose from an array of different solutions for monitoring what employees do on company computers. Most monitoring software will record which websites workers visit, as well as what applications they use or download. More sophisticated monitoring programs can be set up so that certain types of websites cannot be visited at all, for example, sites with adult content or social media platforms when they are not a part of workers’ jobs.

If your business data is very sensitive and you want more details about what your workers do, keylogging software can record every key they press, even giving you access to their passwords if necessary. At the other end of the spectrum, productivity monitoring software is much less intrusive. Such programs assign a value of “productive” or “non-productive” to different types of websites, give workers a percentage score, and help them set goals to improve.

Video Shows Workers in Action

Video surveillance is a traditional way to monitor both employee behavior and business security, helping to deter everything from employee theft to armed robbery. You can legally record what goes on in your workplace, as long as you don’t record audio, and you comply with your state’s laws.

Internet protocol cameras are the latest gear in video monitoring. These devices can feed real-time video footage to a computer at a remote location over any internet connection.

Keep in mind that you can carry employee monitoring too far, beyond legal guidelines. And in most cases, it’s a good idea to tell employees that they will be monitored, to foster trust in both directions and to deter misbehavior from the start.