With more remote and hybrid employees than in the past, many employers feel like they need to work harder to monitor their employees to keep them productive. Some businesses have invested in software solutions designed to monitor employees while out of the office, but research suggests that this might have the reverse effect desired.
Aside from being a privacy issue, there are other reasons why monitoring your employees too closely can be a bad thing which can create resentment and unrest.
Chase Thiel is an associate professor of management at the University of Wyoming, and he is one of the authors of a study called “Stripped of Agency: The Paradoxical Effect of Employee Monitoring on Deviance.” ComputerWorld conducted an interview with Thiel, which is published on their website. The study suggests that one of the big reasons why employee monitoring is ineffective is that the feeling of being monitored makes employees feel less like human beings and more robotic, with little-to-no autonomy.
The report suggests that there are many ways employers can use to determine if a monitoring solution will be effective.
Start by thinking about if monitoring is something your business needs. Oftentimes, it isn’t necessary until problematic behavior surfaces, so why create a problem where one doesn’t exist in the first place?
If you start to monitor your employees hoping to catch them in the act of wasting time, then you are monitoring your employees for the wrong reasons. Yes, it is helpful to know who is being productive, but you should be monitoring for big-picture problems, like security or providing constructive criticism that can help your organization be more productive. If you are monitoring for the sake of monitoring, consider what you hope to gain from monitoring rather than simply doing it to catch your employees doing things they shouldn’t.
If your business doesn’t really need monitoring as much as you think, then you won’t need advanced monitoring solutions. There are invasive software solutions out there that can track keystrokes, mouse clicks, etc, but these might feel to your employees like they live in a police state and are being overly monitored. The study we mentioned above finds that solutions that do more than just capture problem behavior are more effective.
Overall, the study posits the question, “What does the employer get from this solution?” and “What does the employee get from this solution?” Ultimately, if you can answer the second question and it is in the employees’ best interest to be monitored, then you can implement the appropriate monitoring solution for your organization.
Microtechs can help you implement your new monitoring solution in a way that coincides with your business’ goals. To learn more, contact us today at (415) 246-0101.