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Updated Mar 12, 2024

How to Effectively Implement Employee Monitoring Software

Employee monitoring software, when used transparently, can help your business. Learn how to implement it properly.

Aigerim Berzinya, Community Member
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Table of Contents

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Employee monitoring software is no longer some seedy product used only by employers seeking to reprimand their less-than-efficient employees. It has become a useful tool for tracking employee productivity, identifying workforce trends and preventing workers from visiting malicious websites. The software has become so valuable that the vast majority of employers, 78 percent, are now using it, according to ExpressVPN. However, just because it’s legal and increasingly popular amongst employers doesn’t mean you won’t be met with opposition when using it. Learn why it’s crucial to strategically implement employee monitoring software and what steps are necessary for effective implementation.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right employee monitoring software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

Best practices for implementing employee monitoring software

To ensure your employees understand and buy into using employee monitoring software, you must take the proper steps before and during its implementation.

1. Consult your workers.

Transparency is critical at any company, especially when the company decides to use technology that affects every employee during every hour of the workday. Installing an employee monitoring system without consulting your staff is wrong and irresponsible. This can lead to all sorts of negative outcomes, so discuss the topic with the whole workforce and organize a meeting where HR representatives explain everything about the system you want to install and use.

Make sure your employees are fully informed about the platform and about employee monitoring in general. Explain how the platform monitors them, which forms of data it collects, how it can be used, its legality and morality, and the scenarios in which data collected by the monitoring system can and can’t be used. Let your employees know they can appeal to HR managers in situations they deem unfair or illegal. Be transparent and open regarding installation and usage of an employee monitoring system, and chances are your workforce will accept it in record time.

2. Explain the laws around privacy expectations.

To help your employees accept monitoring software, explain the lawful use of the software and the boundaries of using it. You don’t want to know the content of all their conversations, for example. You want to know whether someone is always visiting Facebook or uses unrecognized USB flash memory on a company computer.

Explain that, while at work, your employees cannot have complete privacy and that they have to sacrifice parts of it to allow the company to function at its peak efficiency. To protect the information you collect, use secure servers (like those using advanced encryption) for storing private data collected by the monitoring software.

3. Create a formal, written employee monitoring policy.

Your workforce may be against an employee monitoring system if you don’t have written policies on how the system monitors workers and collects data. It’s also worthwhile to implement a set of rules on the responsible use of the internet, emails to clients, and web and desktop apps.

Although there is no federal law requiring you to inform employees they are being monitored on company-owned devices, state laws around workplace privacy and employee monitoring vary. Because of this, it is always a good idea to create a formal, written policy.

You can draft up a policy on your own, or create a joint one in cooperation with your workforce. Having everyone sign the agreement is a great way to implement a policy created and accepted by the whole team.

TipBottom line
When you create an employee monitoring policy, add it to your employee handbook so it is easy for current and new staff to reference.

4. Monitor employees during designated hours.

A good rule of thumb is to monitor user activity during work hours only. If you have a policy that lets them browse Instagram during their lunch break or watch Netflix after hours, make sure the system allows them to do so without raising any flags.

Some employee monitoring software allows users to manually clock in and out to dictate when they are and aren’t being monitored. Other software can be programmed to track during specific times.

5. Avoid monitoring systems advertised as ‘spying software.’ 

Some software options act more like spyware than standard employee monitoring software. For example, some platforms can run in stealth mode without the worker’s knowledge, and some platforms can track employee activity down to every last keystroke.

If you do need features like keystroke logging, be sure your team understands exactly how they will be monitored. Clear communication can help build goodwill, and it can protect you from unintentionally seeing personal employee information like health records or bank account details.

FYIDid you know
If you are tracking employee keystrokes, it is imperative to inform employees about what type of activity is and isn't permitted on company devices.

6. Don’t install monitoring systems on employee-owned devices.

Make sure to install employee monitoring software solely on company-owned devices. If an employee doesn’t own a company phone or a laptop and you want to monitor them, give them a business device and clearly inform them that the computer or mobile phone is equipped with monitoring software.

Why you should strategically implement employee monitoring software

Employee monitoring systems serve several business purposes, so it’s essential your employees understand your specific reasons. Strategic implementation can play a major role in the software’s effectiveness.

Data security

One of the most significant reasons for monitoring software is to maintain data security. Maybe you want to use it to monitor what your employees share with clients or maybe your goal is to prevent data leaks and cybersecurity risks. These situations make employee monitoring solutions justified in companies that work with clients or those dealing with essential data that cannot be shared with third parties. However, your employees might not see it that way if you don’t articulate your purpose. 

Strategic implementation helps workers understand the importance of data security and how the software is used to facilitate that. Additionally, software implementation is a good time to remind your employees about your security protocols so they understand what is and isn’t acceptable. 

FYIDid you know
Employee monitoring software is just one of many ways to protect your business's sensitive information. Teach your staff about cybersecurity, set internal controls and access permissions, use data encryption and purchase cyber insurance.

Employee productivity

Many monitoring systems have features to track employee productivity. You can track projects, activity time, websites, programs, tools and more. Productivity and performance metrics can be compiled into reports and charts for employees to see where they are doing well and where they might need help. 

However, the initial thought of being monitored can stress employees out — and stress has been known to decrease productivity, which defeats the purpose.

Instead of using this information to spy on and reprimand workers, you can strategically implement it by explaining its benefits. Empower them to take ownership of their activity. This data can also be used to better allocate resources, adjust workloads and identify potential burnout.

Legal compliance 

Employee monitoring software can open you up to compliance issues when it comes to privacy violations. Tracking and storing sensitive information like employee health information or banking information can lead to potential law violations if it ends up in the wrong hands. 

However, strategic implementation can help ensure compliant monitoring. Remind employees about your acceptable use policy and ensure that certain data is properly stored or removed. This is especially important if your monitoring software takes screenshots or tracks keyword activity. 

Company morale

Employees can see monitoring software systems as personal privacy invaders or tools that hurt their well-being during work hours. If workers know they are being watched, the company culture, employee morale and relationship between employees and managers can suffer. Of course, with the right attitude and a bit of consultation with your workforce, you can change their minds.

Best employee monitoring software

If you’ve weighed the pros and cons of monitoring software and determined it’s the best option for your business, you have several highly rated employee monitoring systems to choose from. Here are a few popular options to consider:

  • Teramind: Companies looking to improve data security should consider Teramind. This robust software has security features like video and audio monitoring, customizable content filtering, user behavior analytics and insider threat detection. It offers cloud-based and on-premises options. Read our Teramind review to learn more.
  • ActivTrak: This monitoring solution offers essential features to help improve employee productivity. The cloud-based software has transparent activity tracking, intuitive workforce insights, risk scores, audit trails and more. Learn more in our ActivTrak review.
  • Veriato: Veriato is a great monitoring solution for companies looking for either cloud-based or on-premise deployment. It has employee productivity analytics, AI-powered insider risk management, activity tracking and insider threat detection. Our Veriato review provides more details.
  • SentryPC: As one of the most affordable monitoring solutions, SentryPC offers six licensing plans, keystroke tracking, real-time monitoring and screenshot capabilities. These are just a few of its many features — learn more in our SentryPC review

Skye Schooley contributed to this article.

Aigerim Berzinya, Community Member
Aigerim Berzinya is the Marketing Director at Turtler GPS Ltd. and as the company's globetrotting backpacker uses the app and SHELL device while hiking abroad or in the mountains to stay connected and safe. She has a Master`s Degree in Social Sciences. Aigerim worked for QSI International School for 4 years as an Assistant to Director and a Preschool Manager for a year.
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