| Pic: IMAGESBAZAAR |
A surge in media usage may not always work to your advantage. Many organisations, in a bid to keep track of their employees, are resorting to the practice of ‘electronic monitoring'
A spurt in the usage of media and availability of technology is an irrefutable, widespread fact. Today, our every move is technology-driven and media-centric, especially at the workplace where almost every action is governed by technology and media. This may give us a sense of limitless power and allow us to pursue tasks in a constraint-free manner. However, not all organisations today are that liberal with their provision of media usage. ‘Electronic monitoring' in companies that may include observing an employee's use of the internet or e-mail services (via video surveillance, tracking by global positioning system), ensuring proper use of telephone equipment and voice mail, and audio surveillance of employees - is a trend that many employers are adopting, so as to have a firm grip on their employees' knowledge, workplace flexibilities and more. Electronic monitoring is not an infant matter of concern. Some employers today believe that the liberal provision of media usage will lead to over-exploitation, thus causing a lack of interest in their job tasks due to the distraction of ‘networking' that comes as an espousal to social media.
"To a certain extent, employers should be permitted to enforce prohibitions on the usage of media but resorting to subtly and craftily monitoring by means of tracking systems, tabs on emails (personal or work-related), etc stirs a sense of faithlessness and disloyalty in the mind of the employee. The HR manager of today must be careful while dealing with an employee who shows complete dependence on the social media. The HR manager may permit the usage of social networking sites but should have the right to object against any furthering of private/personal matters pertaining to the business. Clarifying this rule at the very start and avoiding resorting to scrutinising and observing the employee is highly recommended as it not only will ensue a transparency between the employer and employee, but also lessen any bad air or feelings between the two," feels Jovinal Rodrigues, copywriter, Indigo Consultants.
Speaking more on the sensitive subject, Rashim Arora, head – process & quality management, Fiserv India explains, "Employers should devise HR policies to preserve the rights of associates (employees). The HR manager of today should practice varied methods. Distributing policy handouts to employees, information-sharing through interactive online training systems are a few such tools to ensure just that." Dhruv Desai, sr VP - human resource and Leadership Academy, Angel Broking believes that electronic monitoring is a route one can refrain from taking the very moment you hire an employee. "As a part of the induction and orientation of new entrants in the organisation, it is advised to make the employee familiar with the processes and policies in the organisation, whether it concerns the net usage or any other company procedure. Through this, the employee gets familiarised with the processes and policies, and employees are made to realise the need to secure certain information and also maintain confidentiality at all times."
So, electronic monitoring is not an absolute HR offense as long as the employee is made aware of the nature of monitoring that will be conducted.
- Ricardo Vaz