Should You Monitor Employees with Vehicle Trackers?

GPS vehicle trackers can be an effective tool for monitoring the efficiency and productivity of your property-management operations, but there are a few things to consider before you start tracking your employees’ movements.

Monitoring company vehicles and staff are completely within an employer’s legal right. Doing so has several advantages that can ultimately help staff work smarter, and provide better service to tenants and property owners alike. However, property management companies need to weigh the potential ethical and financial drawbacks of using this technology.

Let’s look at some of the key advantages and disadvantages of monitoring employees using GPS vehicle trackers.

Pros

Improve Efficiency

GPS trackers give you valuable insight into the ways that your employees approach their day-to-day tasks. This can help to identify inefficiencies in their processes, enabling you to implement changes that make their work more efficient.

For example, employees could be taking inefficient routes to properties or making unnecessary stops throughout the day. With accurate location data, you can work with your staff to reduce the inefficiencies that are costing you money.

Productivity Boost

Greater efficiency means stronger productivity. By tracking your employees’ vehicles, you can identify ways to work smarter, so they accomplish more with the time they have. Also, when employees know their work is being supervised, they’re less likely to pad their time at appointments and other stops.

Imagine uncovering ways to schedule more showings in a given week or respond faster to tenant requests. This increase in productivity can have a measurable impact on your bottom line.

Productivity Boost

Nobody wants to believe their employees are capable of theft or deception. By tracking your company vehicles, you may never have to question it.

By being open with your employees about GPS tracking, you help to prevent those incidents from happening in the first place. The tracking serves as an effective deterrent, stopping an employee from making a bad decision that could come back to bite them later.

Cons

Impact on Morale

No matter what the industry, there’s a fine line between tracking employees’ travel for business reasons and flat-out invading their privacy. And depending on how you introduce the system to your staff, employees could react negatively to it.

Negative feelings about GPS trackers can hurt employee morale and create an uncomfortable workplace, which can end up costing you even more in the long run.

Cost

GPS tracking can be costly to install, especially if your company has a large fleet of vehicles. Business-grade vehicle-tracking services often come with monthly fees, charged on a per-vehicle basis. Installation of the GPS devices can cost an additional few hundred dollars per vehicle, depending on the vendor.

Some low-budget options include GPS tracking apps that you install on the employees’ smartphones. But for privacy reasons, you need to be careful about how this is implemented. This brings us to an important final point.

Legality

Tracking company vehicles is both lawful and very common in many industries. However, your company could enter murky legal territory if you’re tracking employees after work hours, whether intentionally or not.

Consider a scenario in which a tracking app continues collecting data on an employee’s phone (or work vehicle) after they’ve gone home for the day. Is it an intrusion of privacy? Employees could certainly argue that it is, potentially resulting in costly litigation.

Speak with an attorney before you implement a tracking program. But keep in mind, this will likely increase your costs even further.

 

Trusting Your Employees from the Get-Go

If you’re on the fence about installing GPS vehicle trackers, you can utilize other methods to protect your assets and preserve the trust you have with your staff.

Screening for driving records during your employment screening can help give you peace of mind when hiring a staff member and preserve employee trust. After all, most property management companies include employment screening when hiring, and if you’re entrusting a company vehicle to a staff member, most employees won’t bat an eye at this additional scan. Plus, it’s a quick and cost-effective way to make sure your company is free of any potential liabilities.

Regardless of if you choose to power your properties with GPS vehicle trackers, review your screening process as it’s your first line of defense against costly liabilities down the line.

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Becky Bower is the Content Strategist here at the CIC Blog. She holds a degree in English, with a focus in creative writing, from CSU Channel Islands. Her biggest weakness is cake and favorite superhero is Batman.

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