How to introduce your employees to the system
Like we said, employee monitoring comes with its fair share of risks. Fortunately, following a couple of general guidelines will help you avoid every single one. In fact, you can even get your employees enthusiastic about using one of these systems.
You’re the boss, so you don’t need your team’s permission to start using a new system. But getting it will make your life way easier: Your employees will be much more likely to adopt a system they pre-approved, and you won’t suffer the dip in trust that many employee monitoring systems can cause.
So, how do you get buy-in? First, prepare a presentation for your workers. Maybe that’s a simple slide deck, or maybe you hold an all-hands Skype call. In any case, you should have a detailed explanation of how this system will improve the business
, and more importantly, how it will help your workers.
It’s also a good idea to bring two or three different options to the table and ask your employees to vote. This way, they’ll feel like they’re choosing the system (rather than having it forced upon them). For example, you might say, "We’re looking at using Hubstaff or Time Doctor
—take a look at each platform, and tell us which one you’d prefer."
Explaining the benefits
A convincing presentation will show your audience employee monitoring isn’t just good for you, it’s good for them as well.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- With a tool like Hubstaff, they’ll never be under-paid again.
- They’ll also be paid automatically, without having to submit an invoice. (Hubstaff integrates with PayPal, Payoneer, QuickBooks, and more; many other software systems offer automatic payment as well)
- They’ll get insights into their own work patterns, which’ll make them more productive.
- They won’t have to turn in tedious daily or weekly reports.
- They’ll get more autonomy— since managers will always be up-to-date, they won’t always be checking in.
- They’ll have more efficient team members. It’s always frustrating to work with people who don’t pull their weight, and an employee monitoring system will completely eliminate that.
- They’ll have extra motivation to focus: knowing you get paid for minutes worked, not just minutes at work, is a great incentive to stop procrastinating.
- They’ll get more recognition. As in the case of Jim Sullivan, employee monitoring shows which team members are excelling.
Having a written policy
After your employees have signed off on a tool, it’s time to write out your official policy. Nathan Watson of the Indiana University School of Law
says the vast majority of businesses that monitor employees provide notice to those employees.
Having a public policy shouldn’t be an issue if your employees voted for it; however, if you’re considering using a covert time tracking tool (that is, using a program secretly), you might reconsider. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’ll help you avoid legal issues and allow your employees to get maximum benefit from the system.
There are several characteristics of a good policy. It should:
- Be written in plain language, without any jargon or obfuscating terms
- Cover each type of monitoring being used, how regularly the monitoring will take place, the kind of information being collected, what will be done with that information, and how long that information will be stored
- Require each employee to acknowledge he or she has read it
- Be distributed or published before the employee monitoring has taken place
- Include any relevant legal provisions
- Address what employees should do if they feel the policy is being violated, or if they have suggestions to improve it (We recommend setting up a Google Forms or Typeform survey so they can anonymously provide feedback)
The first feature—plain language—is especially important. If you hide behind legal mumbo-jumbo, your employees will feel like you’re trying to pull one over on them. If you find yourself using unnecessarily abstract or vague terms, rewrite the policy to make it more human.
The Company has the capability to access, review, copy and delete any messages sent, received or stored on the email system. The Company reserves the right to access, review, copy D- 10 or delete all such messages for any purpose and to disclose them to any party (inside or outside the Company) it deems appropriate.
To make sure nothing sketchy is happening via email (which unfortunately is something we have to worry about), our company uses software that lets us open, read, copy, and delete any message that goes through the email system. (That means any message that an employee has sent, received, or saved on the system.) We can also share these emails with anyone (whether they work at this company or not). Of course, we’d need a good reason to do so—for example, if one of our employees shared a trade secret, we’d want to show the relevant message to our lawyer.
Once you’ve gotten support from your team and created and handed out a written policy, you can move forward with implementation.
Let’s face it: change is hard, and it’s even harder when you’re trying to convince employees to willingly be monitored. Anything you can do to facilitate the transition is worth doing.
Hold training sessions
Are you using new software? Train your employees how to use it. Try to make the sessions fun and engaging. Maybe you’re running a co-located team, so take everyone out to dinner when you’re done. Or, your team is remote, so you promise Starbucks gift cards to the five team members who participate the most during the webinar.
Giving everyone a tutorial will show them how easy the app is to run, and it’ll definitely mitigate some of the resistance to adoption.
Your employees will feel much more comfortable with the new system if you prove you’re open to comments and suggestions
. As a matter of fact, you should go out of your way to get your workers’ feedback—having this level of transparency definitely counteracts any worries they may have that you don’t trust them or have their best interests in mind.
Luckily, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to ask individuals what they think:
- When you’re onboarding them
- When you (or their direct manager) meets with them for a check-in
- When you’re having a company status meeting
- When you’re having a normal conversation and the time feels right
Here’s a couple different ways to frame your questions:
- (Name), I’d love to know your thoughts on the system we’ve set in place. If you were me, what would you change? Why?
- How could we improve the system? What’s your biggest pain point?
- Is there anything about the system that’s surprised you—both for better or for worse?
- What do you least like about it? What do you most like?
- Do you feel like this system benefits both the team’s operations and your own work?
- How could I do a better job conveying why this system is important and even essential?
Listening to feedback
Once you’ve gotten employee feedback
, it’s really important to respond with gratitude and composure—even if the person has said something you don’t agree with. Everyone will be watching to see how you react, so if you don’t get defensive, you’ll win their trust and confidence. Instead, ask for an alternative.
Let’s say a freelancer says he doesn’t like having his productivity level quantified, since it makes him feel anxious.
You could respond, "Okay, I definitely understand that. Do you have any suggestions on how we can keep track of how much work you’re doing, so we can pay you accurately?"
Not only does this answer show you’re open-minded, but you’re getting the employee to participate in the process and see things from your perspective. And hey, if he has a different, better idea, then everyone wins!
When employees say they like an aspect of the system (for example, Hubstaff’s team members love the autonomy the software provides), thank them for their feedback and ask if there’s any way you could make that benefit even more visible.
For example, you might reply, “That’s so great to hear—actually, one of the reasons we started using this program was to give everyone more freedom in their day-to-day work. Just out of curiosity, is there any way we could increase autonomy even more?”
With this approach, you’ll be able to show even the least enthusiastic employees that employee monitoring helps everyone succeed.
Now, you know the various types of employee monitoring, its pros and cons, which type to use within your organization, how to stay within the law, what to consider about specific software, and how to get your workers on-board.
We hope you’re as excited as we are—not only will a good employee monitoring system save you an incredible amount of money in regained productivity, but it’ll also dramatically improve your team’s work dynamic, show you who deserves a raise or promotion, and free up the time you normally spend on administrative tasks for more move-the-needle projects.