Do time tracking applications which track employees behavior disrupt work culture

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There are two very simple answers to this question that may surprise you –

  • Yes, they do.
  • No, they do not.

Now, if that sounds puzzling, then read on.

It really depends on how you use the tracking software as to how it all plays out. If you use it in a Big Brother style and pick up employees on every small detail of their day, then it will have a disruptive effect.

As a manager, you can get drawn into spending your whole day watching what is going on without paying enough attention to your own workload. Like many pieces of tech, this can become something of an addiction. Just think about how distracting a Fitbit is – now multiply that by all the members of your team.

For the employee, nothing feels less trusting than being watched every second of the day. We all want our boss to show us the trust we know what we are doing. If there is an erosion of that trust level, then this damages relationships and takes time to fix.

THE SOLUTION

Contrary to what may be believed by many, it isn’t the tracking that causes the problem. It is the way people are tracked and the use of the data. There are a few steps to follow that will ensure you get the most from tracking –

  • Tell your team. Bringing this in without telling people isn’t going to build the bridges you need here. With SINC, it is operated from their smartphones, so there is no option but to keep all informed. Your time should also show improvement in their work due to the increased accountability these types of systems bring.
  • Explain why you are doing it. This helps you to have an open conversation with the team about collecting and using the data. Also, you may get some staff pushback regarding cell phone data use and battery drain. Make sure to explain that systems like SINC use less battery all day than taking a few photos and in regards to data use, 5 minutes on one of their favourite social media platforms will use up more mobile data than a whole day of gps tracking and timesheet recording.
  • Use it for that purpose. If you say it is for a purpose, then you should only really use it for that one reason. Do no go doing something you didn’t explain you would be. This is very important in introducing new technologies like this. Lose your staff’s trust once and it will be impossible to try and earn it back. Your new system will be dead in the water before it has even begun.
  • Use the data in a structured way. If it going to work, then you need to be fair and impartial. Making the data part of the ongoing appraisal and development process is the most effective way to stop this disrupting the culture of your business.