The Advantages & Disadvantages of Employee Monitoring


Employee monitoring occurs when employers use video surveillance, listen to phone calls and keep track of Internet usage. There are some industries where employee monitoring is considered to be a necessity to ensure quality control and customer satisfaction. Some companies actively use monitoring tools to help improve the performance of their employees and ensure compliance with policies. Monitoring sometimes leads to higher stress levels in employees and might create feelings of mistrust and dissatisfaction.

Employee Monitoring Improves Performance

  • One of the main advantages of employee monitoring is that it tends to improve job performance. When supervisors actively listen to employees' phone calls and witness how they perform their job duties, those who could benefit from additional training or coaching are more easily identified. Monitoring helps isolate specific work habits and behaviors that might be contributing to poorer performance. Surveillance also ensures that employees do their best, since most employers notify them about potential monitoring activity.

Employee Monitoring Increases Customer Satisfaction

  • When employees are aware that their work activities are being monitored, they're more likely to focus on serving customers in the best manner possible. For example, in the call center industry, agent calls are routinely monitored. Employees are often unaware of which calls are being monitored and who might be listening in. This encourages them to adhere to policies and procedures on each call. The monitoring also encourages them to ensure they're resolving issues to the customer's satisfaction.

Employee Monitoring Increases Stress Levels

  • The primary disadvantage of employee monitoring is that it tends to increase stress levels. When employees are aware that they're being watched or listened to, they might become more conscious of their behavior. Since they want to do their best, the idea that small mistakes could cost them their jobs might be unnerving. They may begin to feel that meeting certain requirements or metrics is more important than quality. Employees might also feel pressured to behave in certain ways or perform according to a particular supervisor's standards.

Employee Monitoring Creates Feelings of Mistrust

  • When employees are monitored, they may begin to feel they're not trusted by their employer; some may get the impression that the employer is treating them more like children rather than adults. Those feelings can lead to job dissatisfaction or prompt employees to seek other employment opportunities. Monitoring might also create an atmosphere of isolation, if employees feel they're not able to approach supervisors, peers or potential mentors. It may additionally tend to make employees believe they don't have any direct control over their jobs.


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