Employee monitoring should be done with care

According to a recent article by Gary S. Miliefsky at SearchCIO.com, “the American Management Association (AMA) performed a survey on employer monitoring of employees and found that 75% of those surveyed already monitor employee Web site surfing… In the survey, more than 50% review and retain emails, while approximately 30% track keystrokes. And more than 80% of these employers surveyed disclose their monitoring policies and practices to their employees”.

It is legal to monitor employees in your organization. However, you have to do it properly, with forethought and purpose. IT organizations planning to monitor their employees should first create a framework with their human resources team to ensure that new hires are aware of the well-documented monitoring policy and given proper disclosure.

Although the federal law allows you to monitor calls unannounced, it’s still best practice to create a written policy about call monitoring and to share this information with your employees and customers. Also, if you accidentally monitor a call that is made for personal purposes and not for business, you are breaking the law.

It is best to ensure your employees are aware of your monitoring policies. For instance, “you could force them to accept a special message at login to their computer or your corporate network that states “all emails will be monitored for business purposes and no personal emails are allowed to be created, edited, received or transmitted using corporate resources.”

As an employer, the best thing your corporation can do is to create an Acceptable Usage Policy and an employee monitoring policy. In the first policy, you define what is appropriate and what is inappropriate for your employees to do when using your corporate resources, including but not limited to all telecommunications and computer and networking systems. In this document, you will clearly spell out to the employees what they can do using company equipment and resources. By providing an employee monitoring policy to your staff members, you’ll let them know exactly where and when you block inappropriate Internet access and when you monitor telephone, computer and Internet usage.

“Just remember that you need to find a balance between ethics, best practices in monitoring and keeping your employees happy and productive”. The best way to do it is to approach the concept of employee monitoring as something that needs to be well thought out in advance and agreed upon by all executives of your organization.

This blog is run by the authors of FindProtected.
FindProtected is a security program that allows you to search for password protected files. With FindProtected, you can effectively identify protected files containing sensitive data on your network.

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