Setting up employee monitoring policies is a necessary step before you deploy any workplace monitoring software on employee computers, phones or Chromebooks. Monitoring your staff can impact employee morale and loyalty if it’s not handled correctly. Luckily, there are ways to implement employee monitoring without negatively affecting your workers’ job satisfaction and loyalty to the company. Your company IT policies play an important role here. Take a look at what you need to know about employee monitoring software and your company’s employee policies.
The Value of Transparency
No one likes to feel that they’ve been spied on without their knowledge. Your employees will be happier if your company policies are transparent.
For the most part, the law is on your side when it comes to monitoring the what your employees are doing on your company-owned devices. As long as you don’t violate obvious private spaces – you can’t place camera’s in the bathroom, for instance – your employees have very little expectation of privacy in the workplace. The same goes for work-related devices – if you’re issuing company phones, computers, or tablets, you can install any software you like, including monitoring software.
But just because you can do these things without notifying your employees doesn’t mean that you should. Your workers are people, and they have feelings just like anyone else. They want to come to a workplace where they feel trusted, and they want to trust the people that they work for. If they discover that they’ve been monitored without their knowledge, they’re liable to feel betrayed, no matter how legally acceptable that monitoring may be. By setting up employee monitoring policies before hand, and letting them know up front that they’ll be monitored removes that feeling of betrayal – they’ll just see the monitoring as another facet of the workplace.
Publishing your employee monitoring policy may also act as a deterrent and also prevent any accidental invasions of employee privacy. When employees assume they’re not being monitored, it can be easy to get in the habit of doing things like checking personal emails or Facebook notifications on company devices just because it’s convenient. And while that kind of thing may seem inconsequential in small doses, it can add up to a lot of lost time over time – and once an employee is in the habit, it can be difficult to stop and easy to spend more and more time on non-work-related sites. Letting employees know up front that they’re being monitored can prevent this habit from forming in the first place.
Put It In Writing
A clearly written workplace surveillance policy ensures that you’re protected and your workers are informed.
The best way to make sure that you’re being transparent about your company’s monitoring and surveillance policies is to put it in writing. And because monitoring employee activities is an HR issue, the best place to include that information is in your company’s HR manual.
Make it clear in your policies what devices you’re monitoring and how you’re monitoring them. Use clear, concise language that any of your employees should be able to understand – remember that not all of your employees will necessarily be highly technically savvy. There’s nothing to be gained by using technical jargon that may not be understood by all employees. Make sure that you require employees to read and sign your company’s Staff Monitoring policy. That way, you’ll have proof that they were made aware of your policies up front.