Although the vast majority of companies monitor their employees, it remains a hot button topic in the business industry. Many business owners don’t know if they can legally monitor their staff. Others feel uncomfortable “spying” on their team. No matter how you feel about it, employee monitoring can be a useful tool for businesses. It protects your company’s data, helps avoid costly or damaging lawsuits and can greatly increase productivity. If you aren’t sure if it’s right for you, read on to learn about the benefits and potential problems of employee monitoring - and how to implement it correctly.
The Benefits of Employee Monitoring
There are real benefits to monitoring your employees’ online activity. It can protect your company’s data, resources, reputation and legal compliance. But it’s not all about the company - it’s beneficial for your employees as well. Monitoring your employees can:
If your employees know they are being monitored, productivity is likely to increase. If your company is suddenly suffering from productivity issues, monitoring employee activity online can be an effective tool for keeping everyone on track during company time. It’s also a deterrent to excessive use of devices or improper web browsing.
Protect Company Data
Employees that are untrained, careless, or dissatisfied are probably not being as careful with your data as they should be. This can lead to data security breaches, malware attacks and even data theft. Keeping tabs on employee activity helps you determine where an unintentional breach occurred and encourages workers to be more careful about suspicious links or websites.
Another great way to protect your data is to train your employees in proper security awareness and practices. Visit our website to learn about our Security & Compliance Training program.
Protect Employees From Harassment
Harassment can happen at all levels of a company, even among co-workers. You can’t be everywhere, but online monitoring can shed light on employee interactions and protect victims of cyberharassment (sexual or otherwise). Keeping your company a harassment-free space is required by law (and is also the right thing to do).
Act As Evidence In A Lawsuit
An employee activity log can protect your company should they engage in illegal activities on company equipment. Without a monitoring tool, you could be found responsible for neglecting to take the right precautions to prevent illegal activity.
Potential Problems of Employee Monitoring
Like anything else, there are also downsides to monitoring your employees online if it isn’t done correctly. Here are a few ways employee monitoring could cause problems for your business:
Decreased Employee Morale
Implementing a monitoring tool can cause employees to feel uncomfortable, mistrusted, and even hostile, especially if your company culture has been built on trust and flexibility.
Many employees don’t like to be monitored and may jump ship at the first opportunity or even quit outright if they feel like Big Brother is watching them.
Effective monitoring tools capture everything an employee does while online. That means you’ll likely learn personal information about your employees such as sexual orientation, medical problems, religious views and more. The use of this information in workplace decisions opens the door to serious lawsuits and discrimination claims against your company.
The Right Way To Monitor
Though problems can arise with employee monitoring, they’re easily avoided with a few simple steps. Should you decide to monitor your employees online, use these guidelines to make sure your company and your employees benefit from it.
- Let Your Staff Know
Never implement a monitoring tool without telling your employees first. Secretly monitoring your staff is unprofessional, unwise and can have serious legal ramifications.
In addition, telling your employees about your monitoring policy helps them adjust and view it in a positive light - if you tell them correctly. Employees may feel targeted or mistrusted at the thought of monitoring, so let them know that this is a company-wide policy and not a personal attack. They may also feel like their previous work isn’t valuable or that they aren’t good employees - assure them this is not the case. Being upfront and transparent about your plan is the best way to get everyone on board.
The best way to tell them is by creating a written policy of your monitoring plan for them to read and sign. Which leads us to...
- Create written policies
When you decide to monitor your employees, it’s time to put a written plan into action. Written policies will help you tell your employees all they need to know about how and why they are monitored, and it will protect you in the event of a legal or privacy-related issue later.
Your written policy should spell out what’s acceptable and what’s not. Create guidelines for approved uses of web browsing, chat messages, social media, email and downloads. Let your employees know what activities will be monitored, how the information will be stored and used, and what steps you’re taking to protect their privacy.
- Choose the right tool
Monitoring your employees should serve a purpose, whether that's to protect your data, increase productivity, or create a better workspace. Depending on your goals, you may need heavy monitoring in certain areas - and none at all in others. Monitoring tools come in a variety of customizable options to capture the information you need without flooding you with endless alerts. If you aren’t sure which tool is right for you, contact an IT professional like those at BIS for guidance.
Ultimately, employee monitoring is a great tool for your business and your employees - if it’s implemented correctly. You may choose not to monitor your team, but you should always choose to protect your business network and data from security threats! Contact us today to discuss our range of IT software and services designed to give your business the protection it needs - and the peace of mind you deserve.
Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.
About BIS Technology Group
BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing, Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.
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