Employee monitoring is a method of monitoring activities of employees that are increasingly being used by companies globally whenever the employee’s core activities involve customer interactions.. Employee monitoring helps boost employee engagement, improve productivity, optimize inefficient workflows, and also helps detect and prevent data breaches. These insights are then analyzed to spot correlations, trends, and patterns to devise strategies and HR policies to improve business performance.
Employee monitoring gives a bird’s eye view of work done in and out of the office through various applications, reports, alerts, and timelines. These products allow companies to respond in an agile manner, shift to choose better and more effective methods, and pivot towards success. These tools are usually employed along with contact center software and can be used alongside live chat and call tracking products.
According to Market Research Future, the employee monitoring solution industry is estimated to reach US $3.84 billion by the end of 2023 with a CAGR of 22.6 percent.
What is Employee Monitoring Software?
Employee Monitoring Software is a means of helping businesses record aspects of employee-customer interactions and to supervise employee productivity. It covers a range of solutions like phone call logs, emails, social media interactions, and live chats to ensure that a company’s specific strategies, guidelines, and work quality are followed by their employees.
The main characteristics of an employee monitoring software are
- they must monitor employee phone and chat interactions with customers.
- oversee employee computers to ensure consistent and timely delivery of work.
- archive interactions for future quality reviews and reporting.
Key Benefits of Employee Monitoring Software
An important benefit of monitoring employees is to check their output and assess whether the work has been assigned to the right person. Employing the tools of the software, managers can check or mentor, and course-correct an employee.
By monitoring employee activity, companies can analyze employee behavior and identify poor performers, top performers, employees lacking initiative, disorganized staff, and those who are resistant to change. These inputs allow HR to maintain discipline and stay cost-effective by the reduction in overtime payments for idle work hours, minimization of unproductive behavior, and rearrangement of staff responsibilities.
Employee Feedback and Coaching
Employee Monitoring Software gives timely performance reports and helps managers enhance employee performance with relevant feedback. The workforce tracking tool lets managers provide specific feedback and coach or mentor underperforming employees, and also recognize those who excel.
Employee Monitoring Software not only allows companies to track and control user activity but also ensures compliance with internal security codes, stipulations, and regulations, set by the company management.
Employee Monitoring Software lets firms create their policies, regulations, and language stipulations easily. Moreover, activity and schedule-based rules can be created to support specific compliance requirements like preventing unencrypted file transfers, limiting unauthorized logins, implementing audit trails and reporting, etc. With respect to data security, along with video and audio recordings, session recordings, immutable logs, alerts, and optional OCR (Optical Character Recognition) search, the software has powerful auditing tools that can locate insider threats and alert the management promptly.
While we aren’t interested in taking the “Big Brother” approach to monitoring an employee’s every move, we do recognize the inherent value of detecting patterns involving misappropriation of network and corporate resources.
Data Loss Prevention
Through employee monitoring, companies can track their employees’ internet usage, curbing the use of potentially dangerous websites and apps that could put the company’s system and data at risk.
Insider Threat Prevention
It is reported that insider data breaches account for more than 60% of all data breaches. The software helps prevent data security breaches by identifying suspicious traffic, finding its source, and alerting key managers and team members when sensitive or confidential data is illicitly accessed by unauthorized personnel.
Improved Employee Productivity
An Employee Monitoring Software gives complete visibility on not just employee activity but also remote employees, third-party vendors, and external contractors. Their online and offline activity is tracked through system-objects like web, keystrokes, network, searches, on-screen content, apps, emails, files, transfers, and downloads. Employees with access to this data can also get fair appraisals, bonuses, or other rewards because of their accuracy and focus on productivity.
Employee Monitoring Software automatically assigns tasks to employees based on their internet activity. It comes with a built-in scheduler that tracks attendance and sends alerts when employees deviate from a project. These and a range of project management tools ensure efficient management of project time.
Which industries use Employee Monitoring Software?
Employee Monitoring Software is widely used in the Information Technology (IT), Finance & Accounting, HR sectors. It is also common in hospitality, architecture, law, retail and manufacturing. It is predominantly deployed in contact centers.
Just hearing the word surveillance for some employees will be immediately intimidating, especially since it all probably feels very unfamiliar and can seem like an invasion of privacy.
Who are the users of Employee Monitoring Software?
Employee Monitoring Software is most often used by managers of customer service teams to ensure that representatives or employees are giving their best at work and following company protocols. These solutions also help sales teams to implement new pitches and IT departments to roll out software infrastructure.
Additionally, call centre managers, information security analysts, compliance officers, risk managers, C-level executives and internal auditors, greatly benefit from the tools offered by the software.
Key Features of Employee Monitoring Software
Employee Monitoring Software offers a gamut of tools that help track employee productivity both online and offline. The software does this through monitoring of keystrokes, social media analysis, screenshots of employee screens in real-time, emails, print tracking, mouse activity, time logging, timesheets, etc.
We’re really far away from Big Brother, a productivity tool that engages employees and primarily sales forces and sales departments to provide a real time proprietary scoring system to their activity.
App and Website Tracking
This feature allows company management to monitor the applications and websites that are used by employees. It also shows how much time was spent by the employee on these websites and also issues alerts if the sites are a threat to the company’s systems or data.
This feature lets a company’s management see every keystroke that their employee types whether it’s in emails, instant messages, Word Documents or online or via their customer service portals.
Screenshots, Video, Live Feed of Monitors
Employee Monitoring Software also lets companies see what their employees are working on in real-time. This is done by a tool that allows the manager to take a screenshot of the employee’s monitor and his or her multiple screens. It also records their monitored activity and gives a live view of the same.
USB and Print Monitoring
With every organisation worried about the threat from data leaks, Employee Monitoring Software offers alerts when a pen drive or portable hard drive is inserted into a company computer or system. Print monitoring tracks the files that have been printed from every company computer.
Time Logging and Active Time Tracking
This feature keeps a track of the employee’s time logged into the company’s system or devices and also generates attendance reports. Active time tracks the period during which an employee is typing on the computer or moving the mouse.
AI in Employee Monitoring Software
With advances in technology, AI is not only helping take the drudgery out of active monitoring but even making intelligent suggestions on how the efforts could be more efficient and aligned to business goals.
Employee Monitoring software leverages machine learning to intelligently monitor employee performance metrics and increase their productivity. Companies like Microsoft and Walmart have several patented technologies to understand employee relationships and monitor productivity. They do so by using AI to deliver KPIs to enhance employee efficiency. By understanding which metrics are measuring the work output of staff and keeping track of their KPIs, machine learning helps the software become more accurate in understanding performance versus metrics.
Another interesting way how machine learning technology is used to drive customer satisfaction can be found in Domino’s DOM Pizza Checker that is deployed in its Australia and New Zealand locations.
“DOM Pizza Checker uses advanced machine learning, artificial intelligence and sensor technology to identify pizza type, even topping distribution and correct toppings.”
Buyer’s Guide - Guide to Choose Right Employee Monitoring Software
Cloud vs On-Premise
Employee Monitoring Software can be cloud based that provides capabilities that are easy to deploy without requiring extra infrastructure and specialist IT staff. This is suitable for companies that do not have specialized IT staff. However, many large scale companies might prefer on-premise models for extra data security and privacy.
Since Employee Monitoring Software collects sensitive data, and there are different classes of users within the organization, the software should provide necessary access control levels. Also it should have strong user authentication and authorization support.
It is extremely important for the software to support data privacy and security guidelines and also comply with local regulations. It is a key factor to assess the data that is collected is within those boundaries.
Scalability and Flexibility
The software is normally deployed in companies with large scale employees, so the software should support the required scale and also provision for growth. Also it should support remote employees and diverse workspace requirements. As business goals evolve over the life cycle of a business, Employee Monitoring Software must offer scalability to allow monitoring tools to evolve as well. It should be able to accommodate more employees and additions of hardware and applications.
Ease of Deployment
Given the scale of deployment, the software should be easy to deploy and configure. Also it should support diverse devices and environments, ease of deployment becomes a key factor for buying consideration.
Companies must opt for an Employee Monitoring Software that uses encryption to keep all its company and employee data secure. It must regularly perform ‘security audits’ that prevent sensitive data from leaving the company servers. They should also track and give alerts and notifications of security breaches that occur in the organisation.
With organisations spread across timelines and geographies, having a mobile app version of an Employee Monitoring software can help managers stay clued into employee behaviour and glean insights. Compatibility to mobiles ensures that it can be used anywhere and improves usages and adoption.
Challenges in Adopting Employee Monitoring Software
Employee information gathered through the software, could pose a serious threat of misuse and pose both legal and ethical dilemmas for the company. There is also the threat of personal information being turned over to government organisations for their surveillance measures that end up risking employee privacy.
Companies must be cognizant of regulations and laws governing electronic monitoring existing in the different geographies they operate in, failing which can leave them vulnerable to lawsuits. If legal implications of the user’s country are not considered before the purchase, then collecting personal information could constitute a basis for privacy violations and cause regulatory issues.
Reduction in Employee Morale
One of the key challenges in deploying the Employee Monitoring Software is that employees may feel devalued and find that the software has been intrusive or feel that their privacy has been violated. If employees are not taken into confidence, this may breed resentment and reduce employee morale and the line between work and home may start blurring due to constant employee monitoring.
Cause of Employee Stress
Companies must co-opt employees into technology before monitoring begins. They must get consent from employees, ensure that only relevant data is captured and that they do not monitor people outside of working hours so as not to demoralise staff. Also acting on pure analytics without considering the ‘human effect’ could weaken the human resource efforts within the company.
ROI of Employee Monitoring Software
An Employee Monitoring software tends to benefit businesses in both direct and indirect ways that include:
Reducing Support Calls
Employee Monitoring Software can help managers easily track the quality of response to customers and smoothen issues before they are escalated, thereby reducing the support call volume. By closing an online interaction satisfactorily, the support call volume can be drastically reduced, which leads to both time savings in hours, leaving employees to focus on productive work.
An MIT study found out that when restaurants began to monitor their employees, there was a revenue increase of 7%. With managers being able to monitor employee-customer interactions in real-time, they were able to take steps to optimise and save time. This, in turn, increases productivity and reduces the need for additional staff.
Time Theft and Data Breach
Employee Monitoring Software can prevent costs incurred by companies who have been hit by data breaches and time theft. As these tools show an employee’s computer activity, firms have clarity on how much time an employee has spent doing actual work.
At a time when internal data breaches and theft have become common, the software with its screenshot and app/website detection features helps check intrusions.