Effective Introduction of Employee Listening Software Starts With the Courtesy of Transparency
by Greg Moran
Early in my career, I was the executive over all the deposit and core banking systems for Bank One (now part of Chase). Bank One had grown through acquisition and had a number of systems teams scattered around the country.
Part of my job was to plot a path to get those systems decommissioned, one-by-one, and onto a new next-gen banking platform. In the process of doing this, I had to tell teams of people, in various locations around the country, that I needed their help to decommission a system they had poured blood, sweat and tears into…and that when they were done they either had to move to Columbus or lose their job.
I started with a personal visit and honest conversation with each team about what was happening, why and how they would be treated and what options they had.
Amazingly, after the transparent conversations, not only did the teams do great work, they became self-governing and proactively sought help in handling team members that were disengaged and toxic.
It turns out that—even in that extreme case—when given the respectful courtesy of transparency and explanation, the majority of people can be enlisted and engaged to deliver great work.
The Irrational Hesitation When it Comes to Introducing Monitoring Software
Now, as COO of Wiretap, a company that builds software that, among other things, monitors enterprise collaboration platforms like Workplace by Facebook and Microsoft Teams, I advise executives grappling with the rollout of these powerful tools.
Honestly, it would be the height of delusion to believe that companies don’t have an obligation to ensure that the behavior of their employees adheres to both legal and social standards of maintaining a safe and inclusive workplace.
However, it would also be the height of delusion to think that because something must be done, that the practice of employee listening should not be transparent and openly discussed with everyone in the company.
Employee Listening Software is Nothing New
We are occasionally told: “Our company doesn’t believe in monitoring—we aren’t a monitoring company.” But, if you are an enterprise of any scale, then you are a monitoring company. Period.
Closed-circuit televisions, badge and email scanners, browser monitoring, click stream analysis, call center monitoring, corporate card reviews and time clocks are just a few examples of employee behavior listening. The truth is, when safety or efficiency is on the line, we monitor everything.
The real question is how much monitoring is appropriate and in what situations.
Manage Introduction of Monitoring Software With Intention
My strong advice is that as you deploy collaboration tools, you first seek out the appropriate monitoring solution that keeps your employees safe and then seize the opportunity to reinforce with your team that you…
- Value them as the heart and soul of your company and you want to give them a platform that makes it easier to work and share ideas together.
- Feel a deep obligation to protect them and their livelihood. Which is why you need to take the appropriate actions to protect the reputation of the company.
You can then share specific examples of the sorts of things the company will keep an eye out for—and reassure them that those are the only things that the organization will monitor.
This should be done personally, when possible, and reinforced periodically so that everyone stays reminded of the fact they operate inside of a community that cares for them and looks out for their interests in a thoughtful, balanced way.
We’ve been doing this in the email world for years, so there are a LOT of resources out there to help you write and communicate a monitoring policy for collaboration. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is a great resource for composing company communications—a sample employee listening policy is a great place to start.
Done well, this can be part of your adoption change management strategy and will actually increase the pace of your roll out.
Happy transparent collaborating!
Leverage Real-Time Employee Behavior Metrics to Protect Your Culture
Since employees simply speak more casually and candidly on communication platforms, conversations on these platforms are more likely to be reflective of true employee sentiment and challenges.
Wiretap is proud to serve as industry-leading conversation experts, enabling enterprises around the globe to achieve compliance, culture protection, and AI-infused employee behavioral insights.
Wiretap's Aware is a one-click integration with enterprise tools such as Workplace by Facebook, Microsoft Teams and Yammer.
Learn about Aware for:
Workplace by Facebook