Why would a HR Consulting company write about GPS? Sure, our team use it in their cars or on their phones to get to meetings in locations that are unfamiliar but that doesn’t warrant a blog article does it? Well sort of …..
Whilst some of us remember the joy of trying to fold a map, the introduction of GPS means there is a whole generation of travellers who have missed out on learning the finer art of map origami. At the touch of a screen, a guided map and a sultry voice pop up to guide us to our destination without a paper cut in sight
A QUICK HISTORY LESSON
As we all know, new technology has many spin off applications that weren’t necessarily apparent in the design phase. Can you believe that GPS was originally developed as a military and intelligence application at the height of the Cold War in the 1960? It was declassified for civilian use after the USSR tragically shot down a Korean passenger plane in 1983. An unusual background for something we can now download to our phones whilst sipping our lattes!
TIME SHEETS - a necessary evil
Ugh, time sheets! We bet that’s the response you get from your team. As a business owner though, you may have a need to know exactly how your team are allocating their time for things like billing or roster allocations. We’d also like to wager that the sheets they submit aren’t always accurate – they forget to update them and therefore make them up just to get them into you. How about your offsite employees? Are they really doing the hours the report? How would you know?
WOULD YOUR STAFF QUIT OVER GPS TRACKING?
So what’s the answer? Would you use GPS to track your team? How would they react? Is it even possible? Well yes, it certainly is possible and as such, HR Staff n’ Stuff have been reviewing TSheets – time tracking software that is GPS enabled – and there are plenty of positives around the product. Used correctly, it is a great tool to increase staff productivity and accountability. TSheets can also assist in ensuring the safety of staff as you always know where they are at any given time.
The thought of Big Brother tracking your every move can elicit a strong reaction from your staff. According to research (see methodology below) conducted by TSheets, 17% of respondents who had never used GPS tracking at work said they would consider resigning if it was introduced while only 4% of people interviewed had acted on that threat. So how do you introduce useful technology without losing employees and causing major disruption to your business?
We recommend open communication to remove the angst and negative reactions to the introduction of GPS enabled tracking. Let your team know what you are doing and why, and alleviate the concerns of your employees before you implement the program. Whilst only NSW and the ACT have specific laws governing the use of GPS tracking in the workplace, taking some of their legislated practices on board as best practice may assist in the communication process. NSW requires a minimum 14 day written notice period before introducing GPS tracking with written notice to all new employees prior to their commencement. The ACT has the same 14 day requirement but it also includes a requirement that employees be invited to provide feedback making it a consultative process before anything is rolled out. No matter where you are based, ensure you have thoroughly assessed and applied the legislative requirements and restrictions related to the surveillance laws as they apply in the individual states.
We also recommend explaining the reasons for the tracking. Emphasise the safety aspect without shying away from the reality that unfortunately, some people do the wrong thing and that a tool like TSheets can help everyone do the right thing. Ensure they understand it is not a punitive measure but a tool to assist all in the delivery of better work practices. It is also really important to assure employees that the tracking is only used during work hours and the business has no interest in knowing where employees are outside of work hours. Once location services are turned off in the app, and the person has logged off for the day, their movements are their own private business.
Additionally, we strongly suggest that only a limited number of appropriate and authorised people in the office have access to the system. Ensure this is explained to all staff that will be using the time tracking tool. The research from TSheets showed that transparency about work practices wasn’t the issue for employees; it was privacy that concerned them more. Disclose the use of, and access to, the tracking and you can alleviate such worries.
Businesses have a responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of their business operations which includes managing productivity and accurate timesheet recording. GPS tracking should not be wielded like a stick, but used openly and honestly to make improvements in business operations and streamline processes such as payroll.
One of our clients introduced TSheets into its business for all remote staff (onsite installers and sales staff). Prior to introducing the tool, - the business had an inkling that people might be falsifying their time sheets as jobs were taking longer to complete than anticipated. Once TSheets was implemented, work hours suddenly dropped dramatically and it became apparent that due to the loose management prior to tracking, people were unfortunately doing the wrong thing. After just one month, the business calculated the system would deliver thousands of dollars in savings across a 12 month period as well as increasing staff safety and accountability. Winning!
# Methodology - Sample: 500 employees throughout Australia were selected and surveyed by PollFish in May 2017. TSheets designed and paid for the survey, but the respondents were not connected to TSheets and the responses were anonymous.
If you would like to implement a tracking system and would like further advice on best practice and your legal responsibilities relating to surveillance of employees, please contact the HR Staff n’ Stuff team on 9590 0844 or via email.
The HR Staff n' Stuff team all contribute to our blogs. Enjoy the read!