WORKPLACE / AUG. 02, 2013
version 3, draft 3

Striking a Balance When Monitoring Employee Productivity

An essential part of your routine as an employer is effectively assessing the productivity levels of your staff members. The importance of checking that your employees are conducting their tasks in accordance with your company’s defined methods of operation, and adhering to the terms and conditions outlined and agreed to in their employment contracts, cannot be underestimated.

Despite the best of intentions in some cases, or willful neglect of their prescribed work duties in others, employees can and do, let their dedication slide. An occasional dip in performance can be overlooked if it is an uncharacteristic occurrence, but unless you have an employee review procedure in place to check regularly, some undesirable traits may wind their way into your personnel’s work ethic.

And how as employers can we strike a balance monitoring our staff, without crossing privacy boundaries or becoming a workplace super sleuth?

Striking a Balance

First and foremost, ensure you conduct regular reviews of all employees under your command. It is not intrusive to check the content they are accessing regularly in the office or on work laptops outside the office. It is your obligation to ensure that the security of your company has not been breached or compromised by untoward employee behaviour, using valuable company equipment.

Have occasional staff meetings reminding employees what constitutes acceptable behaviour in your company if you are noticing an increase in use of content not deemed conducive to perform their role. Understanding clearly that their work may be examined in detail at any time may deter degeneration in the standard of work contributed. More importantly, addressing such an issue in a general way in front of all staff can mean that any member who needs a subtle reminder to ‘pull their socks up’ can do so without feeling they have been singled out with a more formal face to face meeting in your office.

Keep a record of all workplace deficiencies that you would like your employees to improve on, but do not mention them all to your employees if you are having a discussion on their performance. Ensure that you let minor transgressions or infrequent indiscretions, such as an extended lunch hour here and there slide, or you risk alienating your staff en masse. It is your job to pay attention to everything that is happening within your company, but to list off every complaint you have will soon lead to resentment and people hiding or covering mistakes.

Exercise Discretion

If your workers feel that you are checking up on them all the time they will feel you are more of a spy in the camp than a leader to look up and work hard for. While it is of vital importance that you pay close attention to how your staff conducts their tasks, you must use your discretion at all times. You do not want to inadvertently cause them to think that your routine work checks are escalating to a level where they may feel their privacy at work is being compromised.

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