How productivity monitoring tools affect employee retention

Many businesses have turned to productivity monitoring tools as remote work has become the norm. Seeing how employees spend their time despite physical distance is tempting, but it may not yield the results you expect. Many employers now find that these tools hurt their workforce more than they help.

While activity trackers provide insight and accountability, they also impact employee retention. As more data emerges from companies using this software, it becomes apparent that the impact is often negative.

Increasing monitoring often hurts maintenance

“More than half of IT workers say they would turn down a desired position if they knew the business was using productivity monitoring software.”

A recent survey found 28% of IT managers observed an increase in employee resignations after implementing monitoring software. Similarly, 27% find it increasingly difficult to hire new employees. As a result, you may face unexpected work challenges after tracking remote workers.

Signs are that this trend is picking up from here as well. The same survey found that more than half of IT workers said they would turn down a desired position if they knew the business was using productivity monitoring software.

Three-quarters of workers at companies that don’t have this technology say they would be less willing to stay if their employers started using it. 30% of these workers will start looking for another job, 3% will quit immediately, and 40% will become more open to other offers.

Why do monitoring tools turn employees away?

“While you may have good intentions using monitoring software, it often comes across as a breach of trust.”

To solve this problem, you must first understand where that traffic is coming from. Most of it comes from stress. The same study that revealed these high turnover rates found that 30% of employees in organizations with monitoring tools felt more anxious because of it. Similarly, 28% burned out more quickly and 26% experienced a decline in morale.

While you may have good intentions by using monitoring software, it often comes across as a breach of trust. Employees feel that you don’t trust them to behave responsibly or that there is more pressure to do things a certain way. That lack of confidence makes it hard to stay engaged or feel happy in your position.

Interestingly, as a result of a separate study, it was found that the employees more likely to misbehave when they know you’re looking at them. Ironically, feeling mistrusted and monitored makes employees feel less responsible for their actions. That lack of agency makes them more likely to act against their ethical standards.

How to use productivity monitoring more effectively

Despite this negative impact on turnover, productivity monitoring software has many benefits. It can help hold people accountable and offers a way to reward high performers. Automatically tracking employee activities also reduces the level of human error that can occur up to 4% in some workflows.

The solution is not necessarily to abandon employee monitoring programs altogether, but to approach it differently. Here’s how you can use these tools fairly and effectively.

“The most important step in using productivity monitoring software is to consider what you’re using it for.”

Review what you’re watching

The most important step in using productivity monitoring software is to consider what you are using it for. If you want to establish trust with employees, the less you record, the better. It is also important to recognize that not all metrics directly reflect productivity or performance.

Keystrokes, minutes worked, and similar technical metrics can be related to productivity, but they don’t take into account different worker methods or strengths. Workers may perform tasks in unusual ways, but still produce high-quality work. Therefore, following technical standards can make them feel untrustworthy, without even affecting their performance.

If you want to control the results, you must control the results, not the process. Customer impressions, project success rates, and meeting deadlines are more useful and often less invasive to track than more common approaches.

Be transparent

It’s also important to be upfront and transparent about what you’re tracking and why. Communicating these things to applicants and current employees helps establish trust productivity monitoring, or can hinder it.

On average, just 30% of workers today are comfortable with employers monitoring their email However, when employers explain why they followed through, that number jumps to over 50%. The more reasonable your rationale, the more likely you are to see a greater bump in acceptance as well.

Respond constructively to the results

You can also boost employee morale by viewing productivity monitoring as a way to encourage people rather than reprimand them. Reward high performers with cash bonuses, extra vacation days, or other incentives. Instead of punishing declining performance, use it as an opportunity to check in on the employee and see if they need help.

Tracked factors such as missed deadlines and decreased productivity can indicate burnout. Use them to catch declining morale early and talk to employees about what you can do better. If you use monitoring tools constructively, employees will appreciate them more than they will fear them.

Productivity monitoring tools require care

Productivity monitoring software can be beneficial, but many companies use it ineffectively. Overusing these tools can make employees feel insecure and stressed, but you can use them without accepting those negative results.

If you review what you’re tracking and why you’re tracking it, you can use productivity monitoring software to get better results. Being transparent and constructive are important steps against overriding the positive aspects of this technology.

Also read, Will the release of ChatGPT AI affect the education industry?

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