Productivity-tracking software, such as webcam surveillance or data from solutions like Slack and Microsoft Teams, can do more harm than good in a workforce if it’s not implemented in the right way. According to research by performance management company 15Five, more than a third of managers believe monitoring has no impact on behaviors, while 25% said it led to employees looking for a new job.
The survey’s findings reveal a significant challenge for HR, 15Five said: a severe disconnect between managers and employees including how the groups view one another, priorities and differing expectations around leadership, productivity and growth and development.
Productivity tracking doesn’t lead to increased engagement or performance
While most managers (68%) think productivity tracking software improves performance, nearly three-quarters of employees (72%) think it either diminishes performance or has no impact. Twenty-four percent said it improves well-being, compared to 45% of managers.
Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters (72%) of managers said they use tracking software to monitor employees. However, only 35% of employees say they’re being tracked. In other words, employees don’t know they are being watched.
Increasing manager effectiveness – and decreasing regrettable turnover
More than half of employees (56%) said supportive management or a good boss are among the most critical factors for remaining at a company. But only about half of managers have received training in critical human skills including creating a psychologically safe workplace, setting and tracking goals and conducting a fair and effective performance review.
That deficit shows. Nearly two-thirds of managers are assured about their ability to lead, but only about one-third of employees share that confidence in their managers.
Career development and the need for more employee coaching
Employee professional development is elemental to a business’s long-term health, 15Five said. However, a clear disconnect exists around career discussions between managers and employees. When asked whether they’ve had at least one conversation with their manager about their career vision, only half of employees (52%) said “yes,” compared with 85% of managers.
And while a majority (57%) of managers said their organization offers clear tracks for advancement, only 36% of employees agree. And nearly half of the employees (47%) said their organizations didn’t provide clear advancement tracks or were unsure if they did. More than a third of employees (40%) report that they aren’t being offered learning and growth opportunities such as subject matter training, seminars, guest speakers, leadership training and online courses.
The alternative to productivity tracking is building a plan that includes select touchpoints between managers and employees, and upskills managers on how to coach performance and career development going forward. Instead of micromanaging people, HR can put the right structures in place so that there is visibility, and transparency and that people are set up for success. For example, 15Five said, weekly check-in’s and regular 1-on-1s keep people on track, and fair and objective performance assessments let them know how they are doing.