Employers have good reasons to worry about how their employees will react to their workplace computer use being monitored. Data privacy is a hot topic at this point in time, and no one likes to feel like they’re being spied on. You may worry that monitoring your employees at work can cost you in terms of employee morale and loyalty. However, there’s a good chance that your employees are more understanding of monitoring tactics than you think, as long as certain conditions are met.
Why Monitoring Matters
Employees understand that monitoring helps prevent harmful acts that hurt the company – and by extension, the employees themselves.
There are a number of reasons why you should consider monitoring your employees in the workplace. Monitoring can help prevent time theft, head off security issues, and deter data theft. Your employees probably understand these topics as well as you do. They’ve seen the headlines about cases where disgruntled employees have damaged company networks or stolen information. They’ve heard of social engineering. They’re probably aware of employees who goof off during work hours or attempt to milk the clock to get paid for time they didn’t spend working.
Your employees are aware of these problems and in most cases want you to take steps to prevent them – after all, what hurts the company can hurt them as well. Employees generally agree that employers may need to do some monitoring to prevent certain types of harm to the business.
The Importance of Transparency
While employees may be supportive of the concept of monitoring, they still don’t want to be spied on surreptitiously. And there’s no reason why they need to be. Letting your employees know up front that you’re going to implement a monitoring system and what will be monitored can head off a lot of problems and hard feelings from the beginning.
If your employees know what will be monitored and why, they won’t feel like they’re being spied on. Monitoring with transparency is more akin to quality control than to an invasion of privacy, and employees understand the need for quality control. Furthermore, the knowledge that workplace devices are being monitored may deter disgruntled employees from taking harmful actions in the first place.
Writing Clear Monitoring Policies
Transparency and employee training on monitoring policies can help prevent discord over employee monitoring.
Employees also have limits as to what kind of monitoring they will accept. While many employees are fine with work-issued devices or work email accounts being monitored, they may draw the line at monitoring personal devices, private social media accounts, or in-person interactions in the office.
You can eliminate confusion and difficulty by writing clear policies that address these concerns. Specify exactly which accounts or devices will be monitored. Write a detailed social media policy for employees, so they have clear guidance on what is and isn’t permissible. Make sure that your employees read and sign these kinds of policies, and provide them with regular updates as things change.
Employee monitoring software doesn’t have to be a point of contention in the workplace as long as it’s handled correctly. To find out more about how employee monitoring software can work in your business, Start your free 7-day trial.