Pros and Cons of Electronically Monitoring Your Employees

Many organizations are adopting employee tracking software to observe remote working practices as more employees work from home than ever before. Additionally, financial institutions are required by law to record client phone conversations to ensure fair treatment of clients and ethical behavior. This can also serve as a solid trail for auditing or resolving disputes.

Different companies use different techniques from monitoring software to observe what applications are being used and for how long, phone recording, time tracking, GPS tracking of company devices, and video surveillance. The thought of monitoring employees can make both the company and workforce nervous, so understanding the pros and cons can help you forge the best approach to mitigate risks and reduce perceived uneasiness.


Improving Performance and Productivity

Employee monitoring’s main goal and benefit are to analyze and enhance performance. You can examine an employee’s performance and provide constructive feedback if you listen to a monitored phone call, for example. And the improved competencies of the employee should result in higher client satisfaction. Monitoring can also help you boost performance by identifying and eliminating distractions. Employers can use web usage reports to see non-work-related activity online is squandering time.

Employees can also benefit from monitoring. They can analyze their own personal productivity, track their progress, and use the data as evidence when negotiating salary increases.


Although it will require initial setup costs, careful staff monitoring can help your company save money in the long run by evaluating how much your staff are costing you. It can also assist in identifying if staff are having difficulty with specific jobs or are unable to fulfil certain productivity objectives. This gives you the opportunity to check in with them and come up with a solution that will help them improve. Catching these problems early minimizes further loss and allows you to begin recouping your deficits far more quickly.

Increased Security and Harassment Protection

Monitoring can assist with improving your cybersecurity. Your clients, staff, and their personal information are subject to a range of risks. You can discover dangers that your employee might miss, receive warnings about unauthorized access, and spot suspicious or malicious behavior from both internal and external sources using a monitoring tool.

Similarly, you might find out about any inappropriate behavior. This could include harassment of coworkers or customers, evidence of intoxication while on the job, evidence of theft, or other actions that degrade the quality and safety of your workplace.



While technology has enabled employers to monitor practically everything, it has also complicated the question of whether they should, especially in light of the impact on employees. The feeling of being micromanaged, or the far more ominous idea that “Big Brother” is watching, is unpleasant for most employees. Employees may believe you are invading their privacy or that you lack trust in them. This can lead to animosity, a loss of faith in you, and a drop in employee morale.

However, there are ways to do employee surveillance in an ethical manner by making sure everyone is aware there are intentions to start monitoring, what methods will be used, and how the information will be used.

As Brian Kropp, Chief of HR Research at Gartner, says:

Employees are increasingly comfortable with monitoring, especially if the employer is transparent about it.

Cost in Time and Resources

Employee monitoring involves time and money to research the best monitoring tools, draught new policies, and then put them into action in your company. After you’ve set up the system, you’ll need to focus on fine-tuning your tracking and management processes to get the most out of it. You’ll also have to sort through all of the data you collect, which is especially important if you want to use it to better your firm.

Legal Implications

Even when respecting local monitoring rules, the company is still accountable for securing sensitive bits of data and information. So, what do employers in Singapore need to be aware of when monitoring staff?

When a company employee accesses personal email on a company-issued computer or phone, or on the internal company network, they should not expect privacy. Furthermore, employment contracts or company regulations frequently include stipulations that allow an employer to monitor an employee’s internet behavior in the workplace or when utilizing corporate resources.

This does not imply that HR has unrestricted access to employee emails. Employers should only read personal correspondence from employees if there is a compelling need to do so. Moreover, HR should put in place internal guidelines to avoid the misuse of such access, such as using employee information to harass or discriminate against them. And it is important to consider who will watch the watchers. There will need to be a person or a team that oversees the implementation of standards while understanding their position of power and how it can lead to abuses.

When drawing up company policies, HR should be guided by the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and Singapore’s Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act.

  • PDPA: The use of personal data requires prior notification and consent. Individuals can withdraw their consent with adequate notice, requiring the organization to stop collecting and using personal data. Exceptions under the PDPA allow for this permission to be given within the employer-employee relationship where the data is utilized to manage the relationship.
  • Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act: Guidelines should be created to verify that reading an employee’s email is suitable, for example, to check for a violation of business policy or an intent to perform unlawful acts.

Tools for HR

In the end, employee monitoring is not fundamentally a good or bad thing. It all depends on what you intend to accomplish and how you intend to use it in your company. Employee monitoring, if you respect your employees’ privacy, may be extremely beneficial to both your employees and your company as a whole.

KRIS Document Management System (DMS) is a great place to start with protecting sensitive data, managing authorized access, enhancing administrative efficiency, and reducing business risk, while having a robust audit trail of user file activity in a central location.






Find out how a HR Document Management System can simplify your everyday HR processes.