Starting a small business isn’t easy. But what’s even more difficult is making it grow. There are many different factors that can determine your success as a company – the originality of an idea, marketing, organization, hard work, determination, intelligent planning, ability to deal with challenges, and so on.
But regardless of how much you keep nailing these things, you have to remember that you’re not alone. What’s really going to make your company succeed are your employees.
As a general rule, the smaller your company, the more valuable each individual employee is. If you have to change your workforce every two months because you’re not happy and if your employees are constantly leaving on their own too, then you should look in the mirror before you blame it on the millennial culture or the society at large.
Knowing how to keep your workers happy as well as how to turn them into the best version of themselves takes a lot of intelligent effort, time and caring. And the best way to start is to find out all you can about how they work.
Now that you’re thinking ‘I don’t have time to sip coffee while they tell me about themselves or to watch them work for hours on end’, it’s time we introduced you to a solution that can make this process a lot easier – employee monitoring software.
There are a lot of different brands and types of software that track computer activity, but most of them share some common features that can tell you a lot of useful information about your employees and how they work.
We’ll go through 5 basic things you can learn about your workforce by analyzing data from an employee tracking system.
1. What They’re Good At
In case you don’t know what employee tracking app is, here’s a super quick crash course: It’s a software that you install on every employees’ work computer and it can detect which apps and websites your employees are using and for how long. There are many other features, but we’ll focus on these two for now, because they let you track tasks, and even projects if your software has automated time tracking ability.
If you look at this data, you can clearly see how everyone performs and what their strengths are. This will help you in two ways.
Firstly, it can boost your time management and organization. For example, you see that one of your employees is much faster at making PowerPoint presentations than others. One day, you get a call from a client and you need to make a presentation in two hours. And now, employee task tracking helped you decide who you should allocate this urgent and important task to.
Secondly, tracking employees’ performance can give you a strong basis for their evaluations. There’s hardly anything more satisfying and motivating than having your efforts recognized. A simple ‘Good job on project X’ and ‘You’re a really valuable asset when it comes to platform Y’ can go a long way in ensuring your employees feel appreciated.
2. Where They Need Extra Support
Just as you can see where your employees are excelling, you can also see where they’re struggling. You can do this using the same time and task tracking functionalities you used for detecting their strengths.
For example, someone is taking an awful lot of time on a task that others perform in under 15 minutes. Or they open Google three times on average when working in a certain program or platform. This means they need further training and support.
Yes, training and support, not getting fired immediately. Nobody knows everything, and even if they do now, technology is advancing so fast that they might be totally clueless in two weeks. So if you see them struggling, instead of looking for their replacement, invest some time and maybe even a bit of money into their support. Get their senior colleagues to help coach them, send them to conferences, sign them up for online courses or get them some tutorial and reference materials. They will appreciate it immensely.
3. When They Need Breaks
We all want super productive, highly efficient workers who never make mistakes. Well, those are called robots. Not what you had in mind, is it? If, on the other hand, you want your small business to be supported by human employees with those qualities, we hate to break it to you, but they don’t exist.
Nobody can work 8 hours straight without a minute for themselves and without a single mistake. Even if they could, they probably wouldn’t last more than three weeks before a complete mental breakdown.
In order to reach maximum productivity, your employees need regular carefully planned breaks. And employee activity tracker can help you plan them.
Tracking employee attendance and the ratio of productive to unproductive activities will give you insights into when they’re most productive and when they need a breather. Some employee monitoring tools even have a nice clean timelines to make this information visual. Use it to organize your work day and assign important tasks when employees are most productive.
4. How Much They Actually Work
So far, we’ve talked about employee support and organizing breaks for them, but a fair remark here would be that you’re not paying them to slack off. It’s one thing to give them a 15-minute break at 3 p.m. if you see that their productivity is dropping off, but spending more than 40% of their time on unproductive activities is a different issue altogether.
These red flags should be handled right away. The best way is to talk to them. Offer some guidance on which websites they should use less, for example. This is just one way to deal with the problem. Same goes for being late. If you have a strict working hours policy, using attendance tracking within your computer monitoring software can be a great way to find slackers.
But to balance things out, you should also use this data to track who is working overtime. Punishing mistakes while not rewarding hard work is hardly fair and your employees will see it too.
5. Whether They’re Improving
Finally, a million-dollar question: What quality does the most valuable employee have? It’s not the knowledge they have when they join your company, it’s how much they improve along the way. You don’t need an expert who isn’t going to care about their job and who’s going to plateau pretty quickly. You want hard workers who are willing to learn and grow.
Some types of employee monitoring software have a feature that shows you a trend of overall productivity improvement, which is great for a quick glance, but you can look at other factors too, such as time on tasks, attendance, project efficiency, less common use of unproductive apps and so on. This will give you a wonderful overview of how each employee is growing and becoming an invaluable part of the mechanism that is your small business.
It is often said that tracking employees can negatively affect their morale and the atmosphere in the office. But this is very unlikely to happen if you use a computer monitoring system with your employees in mind. Leaning more about their strengths and weaknesses as well as their work habits is certainly a good reason to implement it. Doing what’s best for the employees will make them want to do what’s best for the company – do everything to make it successful.