Productivity can’t be forced. You can’t simply take your employees, shove them into highly-productive-worker molds and expect all your problems to be solved. Productivity in the workplace should be carefully nurtured until it becomes a natural state of being. And, ideally, it should come from within.
Motivation is critical for being productive. Whether the drive comes from expecting an external reward or an intrinsic wish to perform well, having it makes employees more efficient and focused. What’s more, without the motivation to do well on the job, there’s nothing you can possibly do to raise productivity levels.
We get it, you can’t just stand still and hope for better performance to naturally come around, and you’re right - everybody needs a little push. In your pursuit of a perfect way to accomplish this, you might have come across employee tracking software as one of the highly effective ways to boost office productivity.
While we’re certainly not here to try and rebut that, considering the nature of motivation and the important role it plays in productivity, introducing monitoring employee software into the mix can be complicated. In this article, we’ll look at how monitoring employee computer activity interacts with their motivation.
Employee Tracking Software as a Motivation Setback
While there’s no doubt that monitoring employees can provide a lot of guidance for improving their performance, conducting it in the wrong way can and will be disastrous for their motivation and turn out to have the opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve.
There are three ways in which this can happen:
1. Stress and Pressure
If employees are under the impression that you’re watching over their every move and judging them for every peek at their social media feed, they can be under a lot of stress. Constantly being the subject of employee tracking software data collection and analysis can create a huge amount of pressure to appear productive and valuable to the company. But this performance that stems from fear isn’t the kind of motivator you should be looking for. Not to mention the fact that stress inhibits productivity - big time!
2. Shifted Priorities
Another thing that could happen when you implement employee tracking software is the shifting of employees’ focus away from doing a good job and in the direction of looking good in the software. Although they do have some motivation to improve, it’s misdirected and will very likely not last long. Besides, you’ll have them trying to improve ‘vanity metrics’ like time in productive apps and websites instead of important stuff like quality of work and efficiency.
3. Perceived Lack of Trust
The negative atmosphere that could be created by careless implementation of employee tracking software can be another factor that brings worker motivation way down. If employees think that you’re monitoring them because you don’t trust them, it can cause them to feel aversion to their jobs and the work they do. This state of mind is definitely not a place for productivity to thrive.
All three of these potential issues can be resolved by simply being transparent about using software to monitor employees’ computer activity and being clear about your expectations. This means that, first and foremost, you should tell your employees that they’ll be tracked and explain what you’re going to look at and why.
Being familiar with how everything works and reassured that you won’t have any unreasonable expectations can help alleviate a lot of the stress and pressure of being under the microscope as well as refocus employees’ attention to actual business goals.
In addition, there are also some compelling reasons to give employees access to their reports which aim at promoting transparency and lowering stress.
Help employees understand that employee track software is there to help them boost their productivity, and their motivation to perform well will be as good as new.
It’s hard to say definitely, but with Insightful’s new ‘office vs remote’ feature, you can compare performance levels in different work models and let your employees know where they’re most productive.
Program Monitoring Software as a Motivation Booster
Now let’s take a look at the other side of the coin. If you do everything right, not only will monitoring employee productivity cease to be a problem but it’ll also serve as a way to increase motivation.
We’ll look at five possible ways in which this positive outcome can come about:
1. Inner Motivation to Improve
Seeing the productivity stats for themselves might prompt employees to try and improve their performance without the debilitating pressure of having to. Your insistence on quality work and their inner drive to keep their stats high can be a powerful combo in getting some great results. The only prerequisite for this is having access to the monitoring data, the rest is employees’ wish to be the best versions of themselves.
2. Awareness of Being Tracked
Although it might at first seem like a bad thing, being aware that your progress is monitored can act as a fuel to keep up the good results. However, it’s crucial that employees understand which factors are most important in how you judge success so that they don’t shift their priorities or experience stress. And we’ve already discussed what happens with productivity in these two cases.
3. Useful Evaluations
If you don’t want to wait for employees’ inner fire to spark on its own, you can always ignite it by providing personalized evaluations that have actual value. Programs for monitoring computer use can be an excellent basis for such evaluations. Detailed feedback in the form of specific credit and praise or actionable advice based on precise data can help employees feel appreciated and well-guided. This will in turn fuel their motivation and direct it towards the desired goals.
4. Satisfaction Upon Reaching the Goals
There’s no better feeling than succeeding. Whether employees set the goals themselves or you assign them during evaluations, reaching the desired productivity levels will produce a satisfying feeling that they’ll want to repeat. And besides, if employees have a specific target in mind, their focus will be better directed and their motivation will increase because the goals are tangible. Being able to track their progress could also play a big role.
5. Guaranteed Fairness and Accuracy
Finally, nothing can beat motivation to a pulp like the feeling that you gave it your all and yet someone else got all the recognition because they’re louder or more assertive. But you can’t trick the software, which is why it’s so effective in eliminating this issue. Your employees can rest assured that your evaluations and expectations will be based on hard data - the data you got from their own computer activity. Once this question of fairness and accuracy is put to rest, employees can get to work knowing that only their productivity improvement can get them further.
How to Forge a Positive Relationship with Time Tracking
Now you know how time tracking can either be a boon or bust when it comes to inspiring your employees to all-new productivity heights, let’s explore how you can hack the process to forge a positive correlation between monitoring and productivity.
Satisfaction Upon Reaching the Goals
First things first, you need to let your team know that you’re implementing time tracking for the right reasons.
Of course, everyone understands that the most likely gain is an increase in profit margins, but what many team members won’t at first appreciate is how it can also positively impact them.
By being transparent up front with your expectations for the tool and how it can help them grow as working professionals, you can set yourself up for long-term success.
Let them know how time tracking enforces a two-way trust system whereby they’re kept accountable for their output each day, and you’re kept in the loop about their performance levels and making sure they’re rewarded accordingly.
You can use financial incentives, gamify the time tracking process, or promote professional development opportunities to help team members see the benefits in time tracking and how it can help them with their own professional goals.
Use Personalized Feedback
If you don’t commit to providing personalized feedback from your time tracking solution, you may find that your team isn’t inspired to work hard.
Because everyone wants to see their own individual contribution. Every individual wants to know that they’re seen, and that their performance is being judged directly as a result of their hard work.
As such, all it takes is a sprinkling of personalized feedback each week to keep your team motivated and inspired to push harder to hit their professional goals. Recognize exceptional performance and highlight individual and team achievements where possible to create a collective sense of purpose.
Set Meaningful Goals
With the personalized feedback you provide, you can create action plans tailored to each individual team member.
These action plans can be full of pointers on how the team member in question can improve, and contribute more meaningfully to the team. Many people have ambitions to scale the professional ladder and prove themselves at work, so showing them how they can improve with specific goals and actions is an excellent way to boost motivation.
If you set meaningful goals for each individual, which align with your team goals, you can also help foster a sense of accountability whereby each team member feels responsibility to the collective and nobody wants to let their team down.
Inspiring Your Team to Greater Productivity
Increasing productivity is a tricky matter. But the necessary first step is getting employees motivated enough to want to improve. Work computer tracking can help you with optimizing business processes but if you implement it right, you can also use it to drive employees’ motivation and direct their efforts towards enhancing their performance.