These days, businesses rely on video surveillance for much more than protection against shoplifters and burglars. According to a recent Harris poll, approximately two-thirds of small business owners indicated they believe that video surveillance is one of their most valuable business security tools for keeping an eye on their workers. Camera systems now play a key role in the monitoring of employees as a means of boosting productivity and improving overall performance.
Employee surveillance techniques aren’t limited to the use of video cameras. Other forms of electronic surveillance in the workplace also include monitoring employees’ Internet use, storing and reviewing emails, reviewing computer files and storing and reviewing voicemail messages.
The Link Between Video Surveillance and Employee Performance
So, what is the impact of all the increased scrutiny on employee performance? A study conducted by behavioral scientist Devasheesh P. Bhave of Concordia University determined that employees who knew they were being monitored performed better, and the more frequently they were checked, the greater the performance improvement.
Electronic monitoring appears to have the same effect as when a supervisor is physically present — the workers don’t know exactly when they’re being monitored, which motivates them to do their best at all times.
The Pros and Cons of Employee Monitoring
Employee performance is only one area impacted by electronic monitoring. The process introduces an assortment of pros and cons into the workplace:
Business Surveillance Positives
- Useful training tool: One of the biggest pros of video surveillance for employers is that they can use recorded videos of employees while on the job to detect deficiencies that can often be corrected by additional training.
- Minimizing waste: Employers can use electronic monitoring to determine if workers are using company time for engaging in unproductive activities such as playing video games, sending personal emails or aimlessly surfing the Web.
- Identifying inappropriate behavior: Video surveillance can spot signs of harassment and other unacceptable behaviors that can contribute to a hostile work environment.
- Earning employer trust: A business surveillance positive for employees is that it helps employers identify and place their trust in the productive workers who prove to be an asset to the organization.
Business Surveillance Negatives
- Employee resistance: Workers typically view video and electronic surveillance as an intrusion, believing that “Big Brother” is needlessly watching their every move.
- Reducing motivation: While monitoring will increase motivation in some workers, it can have the opposite effect on others who may feel compelled to seek employment elsewhere.
- Privacy issues: Many states have laws restricting the use of video surveillance in the workplace — companies could be held legally liable if they violate these privacy laws.
- Increased cost: Implementing electronic monitoring techniques requires an additional investment in technology and equipment, which is a cost that organizations already operating with tight budgets may not wish to bear.
Titan Alarm, Inc. offers advanced video surveillance solutions to companies throughout the Phoenix, AZ area. Contact us to learn more about the pros and cons of employee monitoring in your workplace.