While it is considered a touchy subject, employee GPS tracking is a necessity for many businesses. Whether you already have an employee location tracking system in place within your company, or are considering introducing one, employee pushback is probably one of your top concerns.
In this article, we’re going to explore how employee location monitoring can help both your business and your mobile staff, as well as some of the best practices you can implement to address the most common issues and make the most of GPS tracking.
The Benefits of Employee Location Tracking Apps
Depending on what industry you are in, knowing what you need from an employee GPS tracking app and how your business can benefit from it will help you make the right choice in terms of software.
Improved Productivity and Efficiency
GPS tracking can allow you to automate certain processes or monitor the whereabouts of your staff in real-time. Such functionalities allow you to assign tasks or jobs based on the location of your employees, make data-driven decisions, and ensure fair overtime or mileage reimbursement.
Not only does GPS tracking in this way help employers cut down on costs and increase their efficiency overall, but it also contributes to the productivity of employees.
Automated Time-Tracking and Mileage Tracking
Having all the information submitted automatically to a single database gives you a clear overview of the working hours and distance traveled for each staff member.
Apart from making payroll calculations as easy as they can get, this type of automation provides another unique opportunity for businesses. By analyzing collected information, you can identify areas where you can improve and define actionable steps to increase company-wide productivity and efficiency.
The Legal Issues of Employee GPS Tracking
The legality of employee location tracking is probably one of the first questions that pop to mind when considering implementing a tracking system for your workforce. And it is completely justified, as there can be subtle, but also less than subtle, differences between state laws in this regard.
For example, in California, businesses need to obtain employee consent before they are allowed to track them legally, even using company property. On the other hand, Connecticut legislation allows employers to use company-owned assets, such as vehicles, to monitor employee location without needing their consent.
Hence, you would be well-advised to familiarize yourself with applicable legislation in order to ensure your company operates in accordance with the law. This way you can avoid any claims of unlawful privacy invasion while also making sure your employee’s rights are protected.
That being said, using company property to track employees and doing so only during business hours is completely within the confines of the law, as long as your staff is aware of being tracked, the purpose of the practice, and the data you are collecting.
This means that using company vehicles, smartphones, or other devices to monitor employee activities is allowed, as long as there is a reasonable business purpose for doing so.
Further, some industries do have additional specific requirements they need to abide by. For example, all home health agencies need to be EVV (Electronic Visit Verification) compliant.
When it comes to tracking employees using their personal devices or vehicles, there is an additional requirement you need to meet - obtaining the explicit consent of the employee.
Although it may not be necessary to ask consent in every situation, it is still a good practice, and one you should keep in mind, as explained further down in the article.
Ultimately, due to the differences in legislation and individual situations, the best way to ensure compliance with applicable laws is to consult with your legal department or a legal professional and enlist their help in the implementation of employee GPS tracking within your organization.
How to Introduce GPS Tracking to Your Employees?
Now that we’ve covered some basic information regarding employee location tracking, we can dive deeper into the best practices you should know about.
Create a GPS Tracking Policy
Creating a sound company policy on employee tracking is an excellent first step. Its purpose should be to define all relevant points describing how GPS tracking will be implemented in your organization and ensure it is applied uniformly and in accordance with a certain set of rules.
The GPS tracking policy should address the reasons behind its implementation. Whether you are introducing an employee location tracking system to cut down on costs, automate time tracking, ensure fair employee compensation, address security concerns, or a combination of reasons, your policy should reflect and accentuate them.
Next, you should also cover the employee GPS tracking app, as well as the devices you are going to use. Include information pertaining to how the software and devices work and the features and functionalities they offer.
Make sure your policy has a dedicated section about privacy and data protection.
Location tracking allows for collecting different types of data. Point out the information that is relevant to your company and will be therefore tracked and stored. These can be routes, time spent at certain locations, distance traveled, total time spent working, time spent stationary or in traffic, etc.
Once you’ve defined the data you will track, address how it will be used and secured to avoid any misuse concerns. Describe the purpose of collecting and storing location data both from the business’s and employee’s perspective. In other words, define the benefits it will bring for both sides.
When it comes to data security, it’s important to provide information on how the data will be stored, who will have access to it, and if and when it will be destroyed.
Having a policy everyone in the company has access to can help you clearly define the ground rules, let employees know what they can expect, and can go a long way in eliminating their concerns. A good rule of thumb is to try and answer all reasonable questions your staff may have within the document and use it as a reference point for GPS tracking in practice.
Employee GPS tracking may be met with some pushback from employees initially. The best way to counter this and mitigate any negative effects is to be completely transparent.
Explain the reasons behind introducing GPS tracking to your staff and invite them not only to ask questions about its implementation, but also to contribute by submitting suggestions, concerns, and ideas on achieving mutual goals.
It’s important to keep in mind that location tracking can easily be misunderstood as a means of exerting control over employees. Not only is this not true, but it can undermine the benefits both sides stand to gain. Hence, including them in the implementation process from day one can help you alleviate initial pushback and privacy concerns.
By building mutual trust through transparency, you can ensure that you come across with the right message: The number one reason for implementing employee GPS tracking is to boost operational efficiency, which equally benefits the organization and its workforce.
Discuss Its Benefits
Apart from providing employees with good reasons for implementing GPS tracking, you should also discuss the specific benefits.
By collecting data automatically, there is no need for your employees to file reports manually - a practice few people enjoy at the end of their day or week. In addition, having all information stored in a single place with a clear data overview allows managers to spot room for improvement and provide constructive feedback to help mobile workers with their productivity and results.
If you offer mileage reimbursement, employee location tracking can ensure all your staff members are compensated fairly and accurately. Using an employee GPS tracking app that has a mileage tracking feature will ensure disputes in this sense are avoided altogether.
Knowing how many of your employees are on the job, their location, and availability can make the job of shift managers far less stressful. With advanced scheduling options apps like Timeero offer, you can ensure everyone is on the same page and provide your staff with additional flexibility.
Additionally, real-time notifications on any updates accompanied by the ability to make appropriate changes on the spot allow both managers and employees to stay on top of any emergency or last-minute change.
Finally, employee location monitoring also has significant benefits in terms of safety. Explain to your staff that their safety is a major concern, and by implementing GPS tracking, you will be able to provide them with assistance more efficiently in case of an accident or breakdown.
Not only that, but you can protect your staff from false accusations and complaints with proof of their location at the time in question.
Address Employee Concerns
Despite having a clear employee GPS tracking policy and explaining the benefits of location monitoring to them, your staff may still have other concerns regarding GPS tracking. If this is the case, you should address their concerns and do your best to educate them on how the software works.
Some of the top concerns employees have with location tracking are related to privacy, and data and battery drain if you are tracking their mobile devices.
Whatever their concerns may be, being transparent and providing them with all the answers they need is the best way to help them overcome the initial discomfort of having their location monitored.
Respect Employees’ Privacy
Make sure you use employee location tracking only at times and to the extent that is justified by the purpose of introducing such a system into your organization. In other words, make sure to track employee location only during working hours and collect relevant data for valid reasons. Not only is this required by the law in most states, but it can also alleviate some privacy concerns your staff may have.
By following through with this practice and letting your employees know when they are being tracked and for what reason, you can demonstrate that you respect their privacy and are only interested in data that will help both you and your staff reap the benefits of a GPS tracking system.
Seek Employee Consent
Having explicit employee consent to track their location during business hours is important for two reasons.
Firstly, the practice ensures compliance with federal and state laws, and secondly, getting employee consent works towards improving transparency and building trust within the company.
You can obtain consent by including an appropriate clause in the employment contract or asking your staff to sign a consent form.
Choose the Right GPS Tracking App
Depending on the industry you’re in and your company’s specific requirements, you should consider what you need from an employee GPS tracking app. Choosing an app to track employee location is a pretty straightforward process once you know what kind of features you need.
If you are looking for an all-in-one solution, Timeero may be the right app for you. With time tracking, mileage tracking, as well as scheduling features, it is a single software that can help you overcome several challenges of having a mobile workforce.
To top it off, you can integrate it with your favorite payroll or employee management platforms to further automate processes and increase efficiency within your company.