Monitoring employees' productivity is a key to success for any company. Modern-day technology and proven classic methods let you do it easily and efficiently.
The management of any successful company wants to know what staff does on-the-clock and how productively they use their working hours. Not every manager, however, can answer these questions clearly, quickly and definitely.
That is why companies implement various employee monitoring tools to "hold a finger on the pulse.”
Some companies use old and proven methods, while others install special software and monitor the workflow even being out of the office.
"Trust, but verify" is the golden rule for any prudent manager.
A study released by the workspace transparency website Comparably confirms that about 30% of workers have lied to their boss at least once, 42% of which were entry-level employees.
These numbers are undoubtedly disturbing. Thus, the management of any company has one more reason to monitor staff performance regularly.
How to Monitor Your Employees' Performance
- Use employee monitoring software that tracks staff’s activity on their work computers
- Use task and project management software to help employees stay on track
- Monitor only a few employees at a time with selective control
- Incorporate daily/weekly planning sessions to help managers communicate expectations
- Encourage participation in a “photo of the workday” exercise
1. Employee Monitoring Software Tracks Staff’s Activity on Their Work Computers
Employee monitoring software allows tracking the staff's activity on their work computers.
Special services collect, store and analyze data about the visited websites, search queries, running applications and external storage devices used during the workday.
These services also control the user's activity on social networks, outgoing emails and chats in various messengers.
Clever Control, for example, allows monitoring up to 16 employees' computers on one screen. So, the manager can see easily who is doing his or her best at work and who misuses the company resources.
The manager needs only to look through screenshots and study reports saved on the cloud service in the form of convenient charts and graphs.
Modern software turns a usual computer into an efficient tool of online monitoring. It helps to not only reveal habitual slackers, detect possible backlogs, improve the overall productivity and investigate any unlawful actions but also prevent corporate information leakages.
2. Task and Project Management Software Helps Employees Stay on Track
Employers know perfectly well that being in the office doesn't necessarily mean the employee is working hard on completing the tasks. There are special programs that monitor employees' productivity during the day and allow employees to track their own productivity.
For example, some companies use Pyrus.
Its interface looks a lot like an email client, but employees receive assignments instead of emails. Thanks to the stylization and absence of external distractions and spam, the software resembles a forum for in-company communication.
Its features allow organizing the correspondence, arrange work processes according to their priority and monitor if the staff complete tasks in set time limits.
The project management service Wrike has similar features.
It is designed for improving the communication, prioritizing tasks, allocating responsibilities and improving the productivity of the whole company.
The service also offers a convenient mobile app which allows managers to plan and adjust tasks and solve problems caused by delays even if they are out of the office.
However, the mentioned services are mainly designed for managing projects, not for monitoring of the employees' activity.
Using tools like Pyrus and Wrike help managers track employees’ productivity but should also be shared with the wider team on how they can use these tools to track their own productivity as well.
3. Monitor Only a Few Employees at a Time With Selective Control
Selective control allows managers to monitor employees without making staff feel like they are being watched continually.
It is conducted in a natural work environment at random, allowing the employer to see the employee's strong and weak points and check not only the workflow but also its "unpolished" intermediate result.
However, despite its evident advantages, selective control has some considerable drawbacks.
Sometimes, instead of keeping the staff sharp, it creates a stressful environment and even demotivates employees.
Some of them believe that such a form of monitoring is subjective and looks more like the manager's attempt to find faults and criticize the staff.
4. Daily/Weekly Planning Can Help Managers Communicate Expectations
Some employers cannot imagine a typical workflow without regular planning and meetings. This is a proven way for managers to assess the results of previous tasks and to set new goals.
Employees accept new assignments and prioritize them according to the deadline.
Planning work processes with consideration of work hours required to complete them allows the staff to improve their time management skills and personal efficiency.
Before the meeting, employees usually prepare reports which management can use to understand a particular employee's workday structure and what tasks take most of his or her time.
This information helps management better understand the distribution of labor in the office and helps avoid both slacking and work-overloads.
5. Encourage Participation in a “Photo of the Workday” Exercise
Conducting a “photo of the workday” exercise can help both managers and employees understand how they spend their time and what needs to be adjusted.
For example, if a manager suspects the employee of low productivity, he or she can require a report on every task and project in detail for a determined period of time. The employee, then, will complete a so-called "photo of the workday" where he or she describes everything he or she does and the exact amount of time he or she spends on it.
Such a report helps the manager to monitor the true workload of the staff and assess their real efficiency. In other words, he or she can see if employees do their work or just spend time in the office.
It should be noted that completing a “photo of the workday” takes some part of the workday which may slightly decrease the staff productivity.
This method produces tangible results if there is a pressing need to decide on the necessity of this post (or person) in the company.
Managers Can Monitor Their Employees’ Productivity Using Digital Tools and Communication Methods
There are several tools to monitor employees.
Their effect may vary and some of them are not without drawbacks. Therefore, it is important to find a balance in choosing a method that will maintain trust and create a system that motivates employees to be respectful of company time.