Organizational strategic planning has three distinct components. The first component is the establishment of the plan, which includes the high-level setting of vision, mission, and organizational objectives. The second is making the plan operational, and includes the implementation of the plan throughout all levels of the company, so that departments and business plans align in support of the planned strategy. The final element is that of monitoring all of the organizational activities, which is critical for ensuring the workforce is moving in the direction set by the plan, in order to meet the strategic objectives.
While HR plays an integral role throughout the strategic planning process, workforce monitoring (the third step) is the purview of the HR function. It is the role of HR to track and measure what the workforce is doing. HR provides the monitoring framework to ensure that not only is everyone headed in the same direction, but that the workforce activities are meeting timelines and required projections.
The concept of monitoring the workforce is not new. The means in which workforce monitoring takes place, however, has adjusted significantly with the evolution of HR technology. For example, the use of artificial intelligence platforms allows for computer keystroke monitoring. This is used as a measurement tool to track and report on employee performance levels. While the impetus for this type of monitoring stems from the need to track, measure, and report on productivity as a performance metric, it does come with a negative perspective. As noted in this article, keystroke monitoring has a distasteful aspect of spying or snooping on employees. The use of this intrusive software is made worse in these days of remote workforce management, due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Is the continued practice of workforce monitoring with spyware necessary?
A recent post in the Canadian HR Reporter provides us with a refreshing approach to meeting the current challenges that face the remote work environment. The article highlights the real opportunities that HR can put into place by eliminating unnecessary practices in order to sustain business continuity for the organization. Rather than obsessing about employee productivity levels, through the elimination of unnecessary and intrusive practices, a simplified HR approach can lead to a new way while still maintaining support for the organizational strategic plan.
- To what degree do you think the employer should be able to monitor the remote workforce?
- Instead of keystroke monitoring software, what other mechanisms can be put into place to track and report on employee performance?
- How would you react if you found out your employer was using spyware to monitor your work patterns? Explain your rationale.