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4 Things to Consider When Choosing an Employee Monitoring Software

by Arthur Zuckerman

The dynamic workplaces of modern-day are focusing on optimizing productivity and ensuring security. As businesses pivot to remote work and hybrid environments, a few challenges and opportunities arise with employee monitoring. 

This means businesses need to know whether or not the employee is productive throughout the billable hours and their online behavior. For hybrid work, businesses need improved remote team productivity, thus making way for monitoring software.

As businesses use SaaS tools to drive growth, one such area is tracking employees’ work during working hours. This helps bridge the gap between operational efficiency and data protection. 

Let’s explore four factors to consider when choosing an employee monitoring software. 

#1. Scope of monitoring features

Most software provides a basic overview of employee activities, widely carrying all the granular details. This granularity can be a double-edged sword. 

On one hand, managers can get a detailed insight into workflows, potential bottlenecks, and areas of improvement. Conversely, employees may perceive micro-management without clear intent as invasive. And it could affect their sense of autonomy and trust in the organization. 

Hence, the scope of features selected should align with the organization’s goals, ensuring a balance between comprehensive tracking and fostering a positive work environment.

Inculcate a participatory approach where employees are informed and have a say in the monitoring process. This also promotes transparency and mutual respect. In essence, it’s all about striking the right balance to boost productivity without compromising employee morale or legal constraints.

You’d want to ensure checking the following factors.

  • Activity logging: At its core, employee tracking software must offer time tracking and attendance. This may go further by monitoring keystrokes and charting websites (and applications) accessed to analyze employees’ behavior patterns. 
  • Screenshots & live feeds: Many advanced monitoring tools capture screenshots or provide live feeds of employee desktops. This gives an unparalleled view into real-time activities, albeit threading a thin line on privacy concerns. Balancing the need for monitoring while fostering a trust-based work environment is a decision you should weigh on.
  • Offline tracking: The modern workplace is always connected to the internet. However, remote or field-based roles may have employees occasionally facing connectivity issues. Consider software capable of chronicling and synchronizing offline tasks in such scenarios once connectivity is restored. Such features can continuously monitor the employee’s work without any hiccups.

#2. Customizability and scalability

Every organization is unique, and so are its monitoring needs. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach might not yield optimal results in picking up the monitoring software. Their workflow and other aspects contribute to unique monitoring needs, especially because of sectors or the industry in which they function.

Moreover, as businesses evolve and branch into new domains, adopting different technologies or expanding their workforce requires monitoring tools to adopt the same seamlessly. Therefore, choose your monitoring solution based on how well it molds itself around the organization rather than vice versa.

An ideal monitoring software should offer easy-to-implement customization options, allowing organizations to fine-tune features depending on their evolving needs. This ensures that the tool remains relevant and functional across different phases of the business’s growth.

Here are some of the factors to consider.

  • Feature customization: Consider the customization options that monitoring software offers. That is, check if it allows monitoring specific activities related to your business. For instance, if your team relies heavily on design tools, see if it tracks the usage of such applications.
  • Growth consideration: As you scale the business, you will need a tracking tool that scales up effortlessly as your organization expands. Therefore, check if the software can increase capacity handling (more people to monitor as you grow), feature expansion, and better administrative control with segmented (across departments) manager access.
  • Module add-ons: Some advanced monitoring tools offer modular features that let you add or remove functionalities based on evolving needs. This ensures you pay only for what you use.

#3. Ethical considerations and transparency

When choosing employee monitoring software, the key is to strike the right balance between monitoring and respecting individual privacy. And this could be the sole differentiator between a motivated, trusting workforce and one that feels surveilled and distrusted. 

Introducing employee monitoring software presents both an opportunity and a responsibility for your business. Opportunity because it enables harnessing the power of data for operational efficiency. But also a responsibility to not misuse the power that can harm employee well-being.

Therefore, set the boundaries about how you intend to use the monitoring software and communicate the same to employees for transparency. Otherwise, this can negatively impact the workplace culture (45% of employees agree to it), employee morale, and even the broader brand perception in the industry.

Consider the following factors. 

  • Privacy Safeguards: Does the software have features that protect employee privacy? For instance, can it be set to not monitor during break times or non-working hours? An ideal monitoring software must respect professional oversight and personal space boundaries. The ideal tool would offer customizable settings, allowing managers to define ‘monitoring-free’ zones or periods.
  • Transparent Policies: Employees should know what is being monitored and why. The software should facilitate clear communication through periodic reminders or easy access to monitoring policies.
  • Employee Engagement: Consider a monitoring software that provides employees access to their productivity metrics. This promotes transparency and can motivate employees by giving them a clear picture of their performance.

#4. Security and data protection

A typical employee monitoring software collects vast amounts of sensitive data, so ensuring your staff’s data safety becomes crucial. Therefore, you’d need to invest in cloud security posture management wherein your employee monitoring tool becomes a part of cohesive security. This ensures operational integrity and upholds employee trust in the organization. 

With cyber threats becoming increasingly sophisticated, it’s no longer just about having a password-protected CSPM in position. In such a way, you’d want a tool that provides robust, diverse, and evolving protection layers.

Conducting regular audits and penetration tests can help ensure that the software remains resilient against potential breaches. Also, end-to-end encryption for sensitive data is a wise choice that adds an extra layer of security, making it nearly impossible for unauthorized parties to decipher the information.

These are some of the factors to consider.

  • Encryption protocols: It is best to have a tool that uses state-of-the-art techniques for storing and transferring the data. This prevents unauthorized access and ensures the data remains unreadable despite a breach.
  • Regular security audits: Check with the software provider if they conduct regular security audits to proactively identify and patch potential vulnerabilities.
  • Compliance with regulations: With privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA, choose an employee tracking software that adheres to global data protection regulations. Here, non-compliance can lead to significant penalties.

Wrapping up

What we’ve covered is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a plethora of factors that you’d want to consider before choosing the best software for employee monitoring. Still, it needs a delicate balance of functionality, ethics, user-friendliness, security, and cost-effectiveness. 

In an era where remote work and digital collaboration are becoming the norm, such tools can be invaluable assets. However, the key lies in the software’s capabilities and how it aligns with the organization’s values, goals, and growth trajectories. 

After all, at the heart of any organization are its people, and any tool introduced should enhance, not hinder, their experience and contributions.

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