Employee Productivity Monitoring in Today’s Digital Workplace

Employee productivity monitoring, or EPM, helps to measure and ultimately improve workforce productivity, well-being and experience. According to Gartner®, “Employee productivity monitoring technologies are built to collect data from multiple sources and generate reports, recommendations and analytics based on what is detected. These may be distributed at the individual, team, department or process level.”[1] 

EPM is a technology that is included in Gartner® Hype Cycle™ for the Digital Workplace, 2021, and the Hype Cycle™ for Human Capital Management Technology, 2021. The EPM category has gained substantial traction in the last 2 years as a result of the pandemic and sudden shift to remote work. As more and more businesses have adopted a remote or hybrid work environment for the long-term, the benefits of an EPM solution have become increasingly appealing and employers are quickly realizing the value of productivity insights. 

But while efficiency and productivity benefits can be realized from employee productivity monitoring, poorly implemented and communicated programs can present unwanted challenges. If companies are not yet aligned to metrics and individual accountability there is a higher likelihood that they will experience some of those potential difficulties. 

How Can EPM Benefit Organizations? 

EPM solutions support the digital workplace and today’s remote and/or hybrid trends. Employee flexibility is now a requirement but without tools that ensure accountability and analytics that drive key decision-making, flexibility is an unrealistic expectation. With EPM, businesses can support the need for flexibility while also ensuring accountability. 

In a remote or hybrid setting, many leaders grapple with accountability, asking questions like: “How do I know my team members are contributing each day if I can’t see them?” With a solid EPM solution and understanding of how to utilize the insights, that question is easy to answer. Not only does the data surfaced provide visibility into engagement, it also creates a simple visualization of how employees spend their days, so success can be replicated and efficiencies identified.  

As a digital workplace becomes more commonplace, businesses will become more reliant on cloud-based applications, if they are not already. Understanding which tools are being utilized and by which team members, identifying gaps in training, and simply justifying spend on various cloud-based tools creates massive opportunities for ROI. 

Knowing when employees are engaged and when they’re checked out allows leaders to be intentional about how they deliver feedback and guide performance. Are employees engaged each day? Does location impact their daily contributions? Could your strongest contributor be burning out? Having answers to questions like these arms leaders with data to drive the decision making process with confidence.  Those actionable insights ultimately support a better employee experience in a transparent environment, decreasing the need for awkward one-on-ones.  

At a time when resignations are on the rise, employee retention is top of mind. Keeping employee morale high and mitigating burnout and work stress with the help of valuable productivity data can help companies counter The Great Resignation. 

What are the Potential Risks of an EPM Implementation 

In the event that an EPM rollout goes badly, the impact can be damaging to culture, wellbeing, and productivity. It’s critical that employees understand the why of EPM so as not to feel mistrusted. Generally, transparency exists between employee and employer when company goals are clearly articulated to employees.

The goal of EPM is never to invade employee privacy.  The best EPM solutions are non-invasive, running behind the scenes with no impact to the employee, and do not capture any personal data. Scrolling through social media or checking the latest news stories are not activities that need to be shared with employers.  In a mature and trustworthy environment, respect for privacy and an understanding that work can get done regardless of moments outside of business applications, are a must.  In fact, those breaks are likely a trigger for improved productivity. 

By integrating exclusively with core business applications and avoiding “Big Brother” type prying, valuable EPM simply aggregates data that exists across various applications and presents it in a simple, easy to digest format, to support employee wellbeing and accelerate success. 

Another risk to keep in mind when rolling out EPM is how the data is utilized. When abused, data can have harmful effects on individuals, teams, and organizations. Leaders cannot forget to be human - productivity insights are a great indicator and conversation starter but EPM data is just ONE data point, not THE data point. If productivity dips for someone on your team, work with them to understand what’s going on. Or, if productivity is through the roof, be proactive and ask questions - that way you can ensure they’re not overburdened. 

What is the Right Way to Rollout an EPM Solution?

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. 

Inform your team about the intention to implement a new solution. Make sure they understand the why, prior to rollout. Highlight the fact that EPM gives employers the peace of mind they need to offer the flexibility employees want.  Also be aware of who you’re rolling it out to - EPM is not for all employees. Those who tend to perform routine tasks that are easily replicable, for example, are great candidates for EPM.  

At the end of the day, outcomes and impact are the most valuable contributions but EPM solutions surface actionable insights that keep businesses moving forward. 

There’s no denying the crucial role of data in today’s workplace. We’re living through a transformation of work that will continue to develop in the coming years and data will most certainly be at the forefront. An October report from Gartner® argues that “executive leaders need to ensure that data literacy and providing employees with the agency to drive change are institutional values. [2] EPM will undoubtedly be a part of this continued growth. 

Prodoscore’s EPM solution provides the visibility organizations need to support today’s digital workplace. Get in touch today to learn more.

[1] Gartner, “Getting Value From Employee Productivity Monitoring Technologies for Remote and Office-Based Workers”, Helen Poitevin, et al, Refreshed 11 November 2021, Published 29 April 2020

[2] Gartner, “Future of Work Trends: A Gartner Trend Insight Report”, Matt Cain, Chris Howard, 20 October 2021. GARTNER and HYPE CYCLE are a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and are used herein with permission.

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