Having a way to monitor staff computer activity is a powerful tool to secure your data, oversee employees’ performance, optimize business processes and increase workplace productivity. But these is such a thing as too much good stuff.
Regardless of how beneficial employee monitoring software is to your company, you should be careful not to get carried away. So many useful features and such high accuracy of data and reports can quickly lead you to think that letting the software monitor computer activity of your employees is the only thing you need to do in order to have the entire picture of their performance.
Monitoring software is easy to overuse. And you might not even notice that you’re doing it. In order to prevent this from happening, there are three important things you should keep in mind when using business computer monitors.
Have a Healthy Mix of Monitoring and Non-Monitoring KPIs
Computer and web app tracking can give you a lot of useful data that can also be your key performance indicators when it comes to estimating the performance of each of your employees as well as your company as a whole. You can track time and processes with live computer monitoring software, you can get reports on productivity, attendance timesheets and so much more.
And employee monitoring software is a very easy and automatic way to measure those activities and time-based KPIs.
But don’t be tempted to take the easy way out at the expense of overlooking some important aspects of business processes. In other words, chances are that you’ll also need to take into consideration some of the things that tool tracking software can’t measure. For example, quality of work, client satisfaction, taking initiative, creativity and team collaboration, just to name a few.
So it’s extremely important not to get too preoccupied with how to track computer activity that you forget about these non-monitoring KPIs. Only by taking all of the factors into consideration can you really have a holistic view of your employees’ progress.
There’s a Story Behind Every Number
Another thing you should keep in mind is that not everything is in the numbers. There’s an explanation for every piece of data that your employee computer monitoring system provides you with. Especially for untypically low or high performance stats.
So don’t be quick to judge and always ask for the employees’ side of the story instead of taking everything employee activity monitor professional software tells you. Here’s an example to illustrate the point.
You see a drop in productivity in one of your employee’s reports. It might be because they got lazy and distracted but it might as well be because they’re going back to normal after an unusually productive period, they have personal issues, they get called out to meetings with clients more or a dozen other things that could explain the drop in productivity.
So follow up on anything you believe doesn’t add up. This is your chance not only to set the record straight and avoid jumping to conclusions, but also to show employees that you care and that you see them as human beings who make mistakes, get distracted and have bad days, but who can also learn from their errors and work hard to improve.
Don’t Let Computer Monitoring Replace Face-to-Face Communication
Or in other words, don’t let yourself get to the point where your employees are just a number to you. Knowing who comes to work early, whose productivity could be improved, who uses Excel most efficiently and who’s wasting a bit too much time on Facebook could be useful. But make sure you also remember your employees’ names and faces.
Accusing someone of turning off their computer 4 minutes before the end of their working hours while at the same time not being able to recognize them on the street wouldn’t exactly nominate you for the manager of the year.
This especially goes for evaluations. They need to be regular and personal, otherwise they’re pointless. Employee tracking software is a great basis for objective and detailed feedback and this is one of its most impactful uses but throwing in a couple of those non-monitoring KPIs we’ve talked about earlier would help employees feel valued for more than just a high enough number in a monitoring program.
And one more thing - go into the wild every now and then. We know that employee monitoring system can give you a pretty accurate idea of what your employees are doing on their computers but it can’t show you their personality. Take a look at the office from time to time. Is the employee with the most inactive time going around helping their junior colleagues or organizing a weekend barbeque over the phone? The software can tell you a lot, but it can’t tell you everything and it definitely can’t replace a casual hallway chat.
Knowing how to monitor employee computer usage and optimize your business according to the data you have will get you far. But the danger of focusing all your attention on one thing is just as applicable to this powerful tool as it is to anything else. Don’t forget that time, apps and computer activity isn’t all there is to employees’ performance. Making sure you don’t overuse employee monitoring software is the only way to get the complete picture.