For most of us, the word “employee monitoring” sketches a picture of a domineering boss who wants to regulate every aspect of an employee’s life. So, certainly in most cases, the employees resent the very idea of monitoring. But, there is another side to the picture. Employee monitoring is not all about dominating and controlling individuals; it is about helping individuals to deliver the best version of themselves on the job.
The American Management Association recently conducted a research study by sampling more than 1600 companies and deduced that about 80% of these corporations utilize electronic monitoring for their employees. They use different employee monitoring tools and these tools assist them in reading their employees’ emails, listening to their phone calls or voicemails, videotaping them at work, and monitoring their online activities.
The idea of using data analytics by the companies in the supervision of employees is not a novel thing in the market. We are simply missing a clear discussion on wrapping our heads on tools and enhancement of this technology. Currently, workforce planning, staffing, and performance management processes of the organizations are aided by AI technology. Recently, the U.S. supermarket chain, Walmart, has patented surveillance technology with the objective of enabling organizations to eavesdrop on employees’ conversations with customers. The main purpose highlighted behind the establishment of the patent application was to analyze whether “employees are performing their jobs efficiently and correctly.” This is just one example of the ways AI is rapidly being used to monitor employees in the workplace.
Gartner conducted a survey last year and found that around 22% of companies around the world are collecting the whereabouts data of their employees. About 17% are supervising computer usage, and 16% are monitoring their staff calendars. Particularly, around 6 in 10 organizations said they have planned to use AI technologies in the future.
Employee monitoring benefits both employees and employers
If you keep an unbiased opinion while thinking about employee monitoring, you will come to find out that it doesn’t only enable employees to reimburse their money in the best possible way through their employees’ enhanced performance, it actually has benefits for the employees as well.
Motivation plays a significant role in achieving targets, and usually, a little monitoring can arrange for it. Browsing the internet or swerving off to Facebook during work hours isn’t an unusual thing. The fact is research-backed as the study claims that:
- 64% of employees browse the web for personal interests during the office hours.
- 41% of employees admit to personal surfing at work for more than 3 hours per week.
- 70% of all internet porn traffic occurs during 9 to 5 office hours.
- 37% of the employees say they browse the internet constantly at work.
- 25% of corporate internet traffic is considered to be “unrelated to work.”
Some might argue that recreation boosts productivity, but the reality remains that you are only productive when you are actually doing the job. Here are a few ways effective employee monitoring truly helps everyone:
1. Employees can perform better at their jobs
We all agree with the fact that expertise comes over time by reiteration. Summarizing, the more time an individual spends actually working, the faster he/she will develop expertise on the job. Activity monitoring tools can be beneficial in this regard. There are three factors of human capital that have an influential impact on productivity: time, talent, and energy. This is where AI technology comes handy. For instance, employees can use AI time tracking tools to monitor their activities. They can keep track of how they spend their time, and with this knowledge, they can drive valuable insights as to how they can be more productive during office hours. From business to business, department to department, role to role, employee to employee, the time designated for each action might differ. That is why fully automatic time-tracking with artificial intelligence is a long-term game.
2. An employee can maintain work-life balance
When employees are unable to complete their assigned tasks during work hours, usually even after work, they are forced to engage in job-related activities. Here monitoring software can play its significant role. For example, employee monitoring tools can help employees to free up time by discarding all distractions at work. By eliminating such activities, they can focus on work that is actually important. AI-powered tools take charge of repetitive chores like meeting scheduling, thus helping the employees to free up time to focus on other main tasks. This way, employees can pay attention to their daily work targets, which means they can eventually focus on themselves as well as their families after work hours.
3. Employers can make disciplinary decisions
Employers can make effective business decisions, only if these decisions are backed up with solid data; otherwise, it is always a risky business. This is where employee monitoring tools play a substantial role. For instance, employers can analyze which employees qualify for promotions based on their productivity, performance, work ethics, and overall contribution to company growth. It helps the employers in identifying the strengths of employees, which can actually help them to grow. With AI technology, companies can ensure the compliance of their policies and procedures by the employees and the proper use of sensitive company data. They can compare the efficiency of different projects and maintain traceability, liability, and compliance. For all this, employee monitoring insights can help employers to take the right decision.
Employee monitoring can be beneficial for both employees and employers, only if it is implemented and used properly. Though, employers should be cautious of going overboard in its practice and respect the privacy of its employees. Furthermore, AI technology can serve as a convenient disguise in situations where proper ethics, transparency, rules, and awareness are omitted.