Q&A: When Technology Is Counterproductive to Employees' Work

May 22, 2017

Q&A: When Technology Is Counterproductive to Employees' Work

From Facebook to Snapchat to Skype and ordinary text messaging on a smartphone—the distractions are endless when it comes to employees trying to stay focused on doing exactly what it is that they were hired to do: work. Isaac Kohen, CEO and founder of Teramind, is an expert in providing employers with smart tools, training, and processes to monitor onsite and remote employees’ user behavior to maximize productivity and prevent insider threats from happening—intentionally or unintentionally. 


HR People + Strategy: How can employers best measure employee efficiency to help improve their company productivity? 

Isaac: It's important to understand how much time each employee spends on a task. Often times, it’s not that the employee is inefficient but that the process is inefficient or that the employee doesn't have the best resources to complete the task which slows down the problem. It could even be a knowledge barrier which means that the employee wasn't properly trained. Understanding what the average time a task should take and how long it takes each employee to do it can be very beneficial for a company. 

HRPS: What's the best method for being able to set defined productive/unproductive tasks within a company? 

Isaac: Every company has to take their own path. Of course, social media sites are often a good start but I usually recommend collecting user behavior for approximately a week and sifting through it in order to find the most common activities that don't add value to your company. 

HRPS: What have been some of the most effective ways you've seen companies improve their employee's unproductive behavior? 

Isaac: It's not necessarily about blocking everything all the time, for example, a recent company I worked with told me that originally they blocked all their employees’ activities found to be unproductive online. But that just led workers to meet for more coffee breaks. When they unblocked the activity at certain break times or lunch hours, they found workers to be very productive. 

HRPS: How are various solutions for monitoring scalable for different companies?

Isaac: Most solutions are definitely scalable - and probably most effective for larger corporations. The more data you have for this the better - so it’s either a lot of employees at a time or a lot of usage time. Once you have data, user behavior analytics can give you the answers you need for efficiency. 
HRPS: From an HR perspective, we want to know that our employees are not only performing on the job, but also keeping the best interest of the company a priority. How can we combine this kind of program with security? 

Isaac: While user behavior activity can tell you who's being productive, it can also help identify users that are behaving differently, which is a big factor for security. Of course, just as you can block unproductive websites, you can also block activity that you think can compromise data, such as copying to a USB. 

The Authors: 

Isaac Kohen is the founder and CEO of Teramind, an employee monitoring and insider threat prevention platform that detects, records, and prevents, malicious user behavior. He began his career in quantitative finance by programming black-box trading algorithms. His time spent in the financial world and exposure to highly sensitive information triggered his curiosity for IT security. Isaac can be reached at ikohen@teramind.co