Using employee productivity tracking can help improve productivity in your workplace and protect your company’s bottom line. But like any tool, employee productivity tracking can be used correctly or it can be used in a way that causes more problems than it solves.
In order to get the maximum benefit from employee productivity tracking, you need to know how to use it correctly. Take a look at what you need to know in order to get the best possible results from the moment you start tracking your employees’ productivity.
Stay in Compliance with the Laws
Make sure that you know which laws apply, no matter where your offices are located.
The first thing that you need to do when you’re implementing employee productivity tracking is to make sure that you’re complying with the laws regarding employee monitoring. In the United States, employers are generally allowed to monitor employee digital activity on hardware or email systems that the company owns.
Some state laws are more restrictive than others about how employers can monitor employee social media activity, so make sure that you check out the local laws, especially if your company operates in more than one state.
If your company has offices overseas, you’ll also need to make sure that you consult a legal expert who understands international law to find out what rules apply to employee monitoring in those locations.
For example, the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) would apply to any employees that you have working in the EU, and it requires you to give them specific information about what you’re monitoring for and how to use the information that you collect.
The GDPR also explains how you must store the information you collect and how long you can keep it. Making sure that you’re in compliance with any applicable laws is a mandatory first step in using employee productivity tracking software correctly.
Keep Your Employees Informed
Honesty and transparency can inspire your employees to improve their performance voluntarily.
One of the reasons why employee productivity tracking can be such a hot-button issue is that people don’t like to feel like they’re being spied on. Employees who in the past may have discovered that their productivity was being tracked after the fact, or have found out that the activity tracking was much more extensive than they were originally told about, might be understandably wary of future productivity tracking.
And even employees who haven’t experienced unnecessary or overly intrusive tracking have heard stories about employees who have, and that makes them nervous. To add to that, many people have understandable concerns about how their personal data will be stored and used once it’s collected.
The best way to get past all of these concerns and fears is to be honest with your employees. Whether or not the law requires you to inform your employees that you’re tracking their productivity, you should do so, and you should provide them with as much information as possible, such as:
These are important questions, and your employees have a right to know the answers. Transparency will go a long way toward making sure that your employees are comfortable with the monitoring process.
There’s another benefit to keeping your employees informed about productivity tracking. It has to do with something called the observer effect. Basically, it means that people behave differently when they know they’re being watched or monitored.
In the case of employees, when they know their productive and unproductive activities are being tracked daily, an interesting thing happens to their productivity: it increases. So by simply letting your employees know that you are tracking how productive they are, you will most likely provide your company with a productivity boost.
Talk to Your Employees About Their Productivity Data
There are many ways that you can use the data that you get from productivity tracking. You could use it to identify employees for extra training. You could use to adjust workloads and schedules. You could use it to reward employees who are extra productive. And in some cases, you may use it to make decisions about employees who need to be disciplined or terminated.
One thing that you may not realize is that your employees can also use this information. It’s possible – even probable – that many of your workers don’t realize how much time they spend on distracting websites. They may not notice that their productivity lags in the hour or so after lunch. They may very well not notice when they’re spending more time reading and writing emails than usual.
But if you give them the data that shows this information, many workers will be motivated to make changes all on their own. Most workers want to perform at their highest levels or are at least motivated to perform well enough to earn periodic raises.
It’s also better for morale to make productivity an ongoing conversation, instead of waiting until there’s a serious problem. If you notice when a worker’s productivity begins to lag and notice the problem getting worse over time, don’t wait to bring it up until it’s become enough of a problem that you need to take disciplinary action or let the employee go. If you do, they’ll feel as if you’re only collecting that information to catch them doing something wrong.
And that attitude will spread to other employees as well. But discussing problems with them before they become serious lets your employees know that you’re on their side and want to help them improve as workers. You’ll have a happier and more productive workplace if your employees believe that you want to help them improve, not look for excuses to fire or discipline them.
Employee productivity tracking can be a major benefit to your company if you know how to use it. To find out more about how you can use productivity tracking tools to improve your office’s performance, start your free 7-day trial.