Before you assign a portion of your software budget to an employee monitoring software tool, there are various factors you should consider, such as where you stand on remote work vs office-based work.
Unless you want to risk missing out on the best features for your business, it pays to weigh up the options and take a measured approach to the decision-making process.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through what we believe are the 6 most important steps you should take before investing in an employee monitoring tool.
Step 1: Communicate with Your Employees
Naturally, the introduction and implementation of a new software tool can cause friction among your workforce.
Some individuals will have a certain way of doing things, and believe that a new tool could disrupt their productivity. Others may have concerns surrounding privacy, since some employee monitoring tools do little to safeguard employee data.
To navigate this potential minefield, and keep your employees on board, it’s imperative that you keep them in the loop at all stages of the decision-making process. To make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved - talk openly about the software and invite input from your team regarding the implementation if appropriate. By communicating with your employees, you can:
- Soothe concerns about individual privacy and data protection
- Convince them of the benefits of employee monitoring software to them
- Discuss ways to implement the software into existing workflows
What are the best ways to get your message across?
Send out a memo - First things first, notify your team that you’re planning on looking into employee monitoring software so it’s on their radar. This memo could be as simple as an email, and can set up a follow-up meeting with your team to discuss the topic.
Schedule a group meeting - If you’ve returned to the office get your team together, or if you’re working remotely, host a video conference call. During this meeting, you can explore the benefits of using employee monitoring software, such as how employees can use it to objectively track their performance levels.
Host an open forum - Finally, open the floor to questions in a casual setting. It could be a group Slack channel or an informal in-person meeting. It’s natural that team members will have concerns, and will have questions they want answers to. The most common objection is often that employee monitoring equates to spying, which is why you need to assure your team that with the right tool, their privacy will be protected.
Ask your team for their input, allow them to do research and share their findings, and then you can bring everything together to make your final decision.
Step 2: Explore Your Options
There are countless employee monitoring software tools on the market in 2023 with all kinds of features.
Most of them offer basic features such as time and app usage tracking, but some, like Insightful, also offer advanced features such as screenshot monitoring and remote work vs office performance comparisons.
Before you start choosing between different monitoring tools, set your expectations accordingly.
- Which features are necessary for your team?
- Do you need automated time tracking which will allocate time to projects by using AI?
- Are you concerned about security measures and data protection?
While some tools only offer cloud-based tracking, others let you choose an on-premise solution. On-premise solutions are usually best for large teams and companies who need access to raw data.
It’s important to note that on-premise installation will likely be more expensive. Yet, depending on the number of employees you have, you could qualify for a discount with some solutions.
Take time to do the research, don’t rush the process.
After you’ve done the research, shortlist the solutions down to a maximum of 5 options and experiment with each. Almost every software maker offers a free trial, so use this to your advantage. While you’re in trial mode, monitor your whole team - this way, everyone will be using the software and providing some input.
Step 3: Develop an Employee Monitoring Policy
It’s important that you develop your employee monitoring policy before implementing your software. This policy should clearly define who will be monitored, why, and how you will use the collected data.
During this process, consider:
- Who should have access to the data
- The driving factors behind using employee monitoring in your business
- How you can protect employees privacy
Draw up a document that outlines the key issues you intend to resolve with employee monitoring. Be as transparent as possible to avoid questions down the line. This document can also be used as a type of contract with employees that stipulates your usage of the tool, so that all parties are in agreement and it aligns with the laws in your country.
We strongly recommend that you have your legal team review the policy and consent forms before you make them public. You can never be too careful, especially when it comes to data protection and privacy laws.
Step 4: Invite Input from Key Stakeholders
While you should make every effort to stay in touch with your employees regarding the decision-making process, make sure you don’t forget to invite input from key stakeholders.
Key stakeholders may include:
- HR professionals
- IT teams
- Legal experts
Each of these stakeholders may have a different angle on the issue of introducing employee monitoring software, and as such, it’s important to consult them before implementing it.
That way, you can garner feedback from all perspectives and make sure that the integration of the software in your business is frictionless. By inviting input from key stakeholders, you can manage important issues such as privacy concerns and the technical factors that go into adding a new software solution to your company tech stack.
Step 5: Test the Software
A key step that many companies may skip over is the testing phase.
If you want to know whether an employee monitoring software solution will work for you and your team, why not make use of the free trial first?
Before you commit to an investment, take the time to run smaller scale operations with the employee monitoring software to test its functionality and features. Run it for a small team of 3 for example to get to grips with how the time tracking works, and how it is to engage with from the perspective of both managers and employees.
With this trial run period, you can also ask any questions you may have to the company’s sales team, so you can navigate any potential roadblocks before you roll out the software to your whole team or company.
Be sure to solicit feedback from your testers if you decide to go this route, as their input could help you make your final decision.
Step 6: Evaluate Options and Make an Informed Decision
Now that you’ve talked to your employees, carried out research, and prepared how you’ll implement the computer monitoring software, it’s time to evaluate the options on your shortlist and make the final decision.
By this point, if you’ve followed our guide, you will have already signed up for several free trials with different tools and had time to run small-scale experiments within your team. Your findings from these tests should inform your decision-making process and give you a clear idea of which one will best adapt to your team and suit your specific needs.
End the process as you started - with open communication lines with your employees. Since they were involved from the outset, get your team together once more and compare notes.
You can either create a brief survey through Microsoft or Google Forms to gather everyone's feedback in one place, or you can have a round-the-table discussion to go back and forth on each option.
The larger your team, the less chance there is that you’ll reach a unanimous agreement on one tool. However, by using a grading system on a scale from 1 to 10, you can bypass this issue by selecting the tool with the highest overall score.
Updated June 12th 2023