A Common-Sense Approach to Monitoring
Some things in life need not be explained. Geo-tracking your company vehicles and monitoring employees’ activities while on the clock is quickly becoming a mainstream practice.
There are obstacles an employer needs to overcome before policy adoption rate is 100%. Like all things, knowledge is power and communication is the key. The following are some “good to know” items designed to help employers and employees accept the practice of monitoring in the work environment – and, in fact, feel good about the results.
Communicate early and obtain employee’s written consent of your outlined Monitoring/Tracking policies.
Spread the Word – Get Consent
Legal Limits of Employee Monitoring: Generally speaking, employers have the right to monitor employees on the job – with some limitations. Always check with your legal representative for specific laws in your state or profession.
Federal Law: Employers may have the right to monitor employees’ activities via email or GPS as they perform their work, although eavesdropping is not so clear cut. Placing microphones/bugs in the office area is generally legal, but a microphone in the cafeteria where one could assume they are free to speak about personal ideas and comments, is not; cameras/bugs in the locker rooms and bathrooms – a big “no-no”.
State Law: State Laws about workplace monitoring efforts vary, mostly around consent issues—whether the monitoring occurs via e-mail, audio/video or Geo-tracking. It is recommended that you communicate with employees about monitoring and get written confirmation of employees consent. Employees should also have the availability to turn off tracking devices during non-work hours.
- Avoid targeting legally protected classes. This includes people chosen on the basis of age, race, gender, religion or disability. Be sure there is no discriminatory impact on employees whom you choose to track.
- Keep monitoring/tracking devices out of non-work areas. Non-work areas include bathrooms and locker rooms where people disrobe.
- Be consistent in your action; avoid the appearance of selective discipline. Every situation is different; seek legal advice before introducing a monitoring program in your workplace.
- Monitoring employee productivity like, work-day ‘Check In – Check out’ is simple and affordable.
- Improved Customer Service: this will always be good for business, profits, and employee retention.
- Monitoring/Tracking gathers information on business analytics; illustrates your company’s best productive teams/time helping management plan for changes and workforce improvements.
- Decreasing distractions: If employees are aware that their activities are monitored, there is an obvious decrease in non-work activities.
- Safety: Having awareness of where your drivers/employees are located should give them peace of mind, especially at night or in severe weather or other threatening events. There is a life-line for them via your dispatcher if needed.
- Drivers will make better decisions, like seat belt usage and controlling speed. This could have a direct impact on your insurance rates.
- The Bottom Line: If you share the information of improved results with your employees – it can give them a sense of ownership and satisfaction that they are adding value and this translates into a more stable company and creates job security.
The Bad (as you can see a much shorter list)
- Distrust and fear among workers.
- Increase employee turnover.
- Monitoring could decrease productivity as it may cause stress.
The Commentary: Keep the human aspect of running your company in the forefront. Machine monitoring is practical and should be part of every company strategy, as it is nowadays, so affordable. But, the value of remembering team spirit, with individual personalities and ideas — should not be pushed off to the side. Open monitoring can improve workforce moral, safety, and profitability. Go Team on the Run.