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GPS Tracking: How to Avoid Employee Pushback?

Samson Kiarie
Last update on:
April 10, 2024 1:37 PM
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You picked the best GPS tracking app for your business and are excited to see how the new system will enhance cost savings and other undertakings. The thing is, GPS apps minimize fuel costs, lower operational costs, and improve employee safety. The low-hanging fruits are there for the picking if you can sidestep GPS-tracking employee pushback.

 

Remember: Employees might not see the new GPS tracking system through the lenses of its benefits. Some might think it infringes on their privacy, whereas others aren’t for using GPS tracking apps on their smartphones. These grievances can cause employee pushback, and in the worst-case scenario - your best talent could quit. 

This guide will show you how to introduce a GPS app without precipitating employee pushback. 

We will tell you what employee pushback is, why it happens, and how to ensure it doesn’t deny your company the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of GPS tracking. 

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What’s Employee Pushback?

First things first: What’s GPS tracking employee pushback?

Employee pushback refers to an employee’s resistance to change, processes, methodology, or procedures in the workplace. For example, employee pushback occurs when you introduce a new employee tracking app or GPS fleet tracking software.

 

The pushback takes four forms:

  • Group Pushback. A section of your organization’s workforce or department will resist using GPS tracking apps. Group pushback signifies a serious, justifiable reason. When it’s not addressed at the onset, it can be the precursor to increased employee turnover.

  • Passive pushback. Employees are unwilling to jump on the bandwagon but remain mum about it. This can occur when the communication line between the management and employees is broken or out of fear of retribution if they speak up.

  • Active pushback. Employees speak up and act against implementing a new GPS tracking system. 

  • Attachment change resistance. This happens when changing an existing GPS system. In this case, employees have a strong emotional tie to the current GPS app. As a result, they attempt to compromise change to compel the organization to retain the existing system. 

Why Do Employees Pushback Against GPS Apps?

It would help if you dealt with employee pushback as soon as you get a hint of it. However, you can only solve the resistance effectively if you understand the root cause. Employees may pushback against GPS tracking for various reasons:

Privacy Concerns

As employee monitoring technology evolves, cases of employers spying on their workers have become rampant. According to the latest statistics, 78% of employers spy on their employees. Furthermore, some employees monitor workers behind their backs or without their consent. 

As a result, employees are increasingly becoming vigilant, particularly regarding the technology their employers use. So, for example, when you announce the use of GPS tracking apps, the thought of being spied on could spring to employees’ minds, instigating resistance. And that’s normal. 

They perceive the GPS tracking app as an invasion of privacy, invoking the fear that it might precipitate discriminatory practices. For example, employees worry that the app will track their real-time location off the clock, which may expose their lifestyle and preferences.

Reluctance to Install The GPS App on Personal Device

Employees may hesitate to install the GPS app on smartphones and personal vehicles, fearing it will breach their privacy. 

If employees are experiencing GPS technology for the first time, they will be apprehensive about their manager monitoring them all the time. What if my manager knows when I visit a local bar for a beer or two? What if they know when I return home late from a party? 

The resistance could be worse if the manager has exhibited overbearing behavior before. The thought of a controlling manager tracing their movements will scare them. As a result, they will resist using the GPS app on their device to avoid potential stress situations. 

employee pushback gps tracking

Data and Battery Use Concerns

Another concern that can make employees less enthusiastic about the GPS app is data and battery drain. 

But do GPS tracking apps drain mobile batteries? Our comprehensive guide lets you learn how GPS trackers affect phone batteries. We also discussed ten tips on how to get the most out of your phone battery when using a GPS-tracking app. 

The truth is some employee GPS tracking apps are known to be battery hogs. If a GPS tracking app is hurriedly put together and unoptimized, it will likely drain the battery life quickly. This is mainly the case because these apps must remain turned on when the employee is on the clock. 

In addition, some GPS apps don’t offer an offline mode. As a result, they only work when there’s an internet connection. If employees rely on mobile data, then employees will be concerned about how much data the app consumes.

 

Sometimes, the fly-by-night GSP tracking app providers partner with third party advertisers to display in-app ads. The ads erode user bandwidth, forcing employees to incur an extra expense that the business will never compensate. 

A reliable app such as Timeero will help circumvent data and battery drain issues. Timeero is optimized to use the menial processing power of employee mobile phones, thus preventing battery drain issues. 

Even better, Timeero comes with offline mode, which helps track employees in off-the-grid locations. The app tracks all important data offline and syncs it to your database once there’s an internet connection. Plus, the offline mode goes a long way toward saving employees’ mobile data. 

Fear of New Technology

This is mainly a problem if you’re introducing the GPS app or your workforce comprises non-tech-savvy employees.

 

For example, if employees are accustomed to spreadsheet mileage and time tracking, new technology may present a learning curve that is so steep that they aren’t willing to take that road—the uncertainty, misunderstanding, and misconception of how the technology works can cause resistance.

Sometimes, you must prepare an internal help document to educate employees about the new GPS tracking app. However, that can sometimes lead to hiccups, particularly if the team tasked with creating the internal knowledgebase is experiencing the GPS app for the first time. 

Luckily, we do the donkey work for your team. When you pick Timeero, we walk with your team from the pre-installation to the post-installation process. We’ll be there to answer the technical questions related to the GPS tracking app. In addition, we’ll share help documents, which employees can read during their free time to understand how the tool works. 

Best Practices When Implementing GPS Tracking Apps

We have highlighted some of the causes of GPS tracking employee pushback. In this section, we focus on the solutions to the above problems. If you’re implementing GPS tracking technology for your company, here’s how you should go about it to avoid employee pushback. 

We’ve compiled a detailed guide on GPS tracking best practices, which you can read to learn more.

Create Effective Policy

First and foremost, create a GPS tracking policy that operates within the statutes of relevant GPS tracking state laws. Beyond regional and state laws, your GPS tracking policy should encapsulate the tenets of moral and ethical principles. You can use the free Timeero GPS tracking policy template as a springboard. 

Why Are You Tracking Employees?

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 permits employers to track employees, provided there’s a business reason to do so. 

That means your GPS policy should be clear at the onset, why you’re tracking employees, and what business goal you intend to accomplish. It should also define when you conduct the GPS tracking. Some key questions the policy should answer include the following:

  • What’s the scope of time and period of tracking? 

  • Will the monitoring be active during working hours or 24/7?

  • Will tracking be intermittent or continuous?

 timeero who’s working 
Timeero’s Who’s Working tab displays the real-time location of all clocked-in employees. 

How Will You Track Employees?

In addition, state clearly how you intend to use the GPS tracking solution. Stipulate when an employee must turn their GPS or location services on. Other things to consider include the following:

  • What are the consequences of tampering or switching off the GPS tracking system?

  • Will you require employee consent? This will depend on where your workforce is located. If you have employees in states like California, you’ll require employee consent to track them. Do due diligence and consult a lawyer to ensure the policy leaves no grey area regarding GPS tracking devices. 

Where Will You Install The Tracking Device?

The other thing to consider is the ‘tools of the trade.’ For example, if you have a mobile workforce, do you require them to use company-owned assets or their devices or vehicles? If they’re using company vehicles, you can install the GPS on these vehicles, but be sure to do so in strict conformity with state laws.

If you require employees to use their devices, add a bring your own device (BYOD) clause in the policy. State how you intend to use employee devices such as mobile phones and vehicles to facilitate GPS tracking. 

How Will You Use and Store Employee Data?

To allay privacy concerns, state how you intend to use the location data. For example, you could only need the data to monitor employees’ locations or streamline fleet operations. In addition, clarify:

  • How will you store the tracking data?

  • Will you use the tracking data for employee assessment?

  • Will you share tracking data with third parties?

Lastly, please don’t create the GPS tracking policy and tuck it away on your resource page. The biggest mistake 70% of companies make is not sharing the GPS tracking policy before introducing the new technology. Don’t fall into the same trap: Make the policy available to everyone, including your new hires. 

Educate employees

The policy will clear some of your employees’ doubts over the new GPS tracking app, but it’s not the be-all-end-all. First, you must educate employees to set the records straight and alleviate any lingering doubt from misconceptions about the new technology. 

The information about how you’ll use the devices, when, and why should permeate every section of your workforce. Explaining how the GPS app works won’t cut it. Instead, go to great lengths to demonstrate how each functionality of the new GPS system works and the ultimate end goal of using it. 

How will the GPS System be Installed?

Employees will likely resist the idea if the installation isn’t straightforward or comes out as sneaky. Remember John Halpin’s case: John sued his employer for terminating his disability benefits only to find out during the case that the employer had been secretly tracking him. 

Halpin’s case took place in 1970, and times have changed. Today’s employees are more conscious about their privacy and will resist anything that seems to jeopardize it. Therefore, 

ensure there’s nothing sinister about the installation to eliminate ambiguity.  

How Does the GPS System Work?

Your policy explained how you intend to use the system. However, that’s not enough to eliminate employees’ concerns about unethical (or illegal) tracking. Explain carefully and demonstrate how the system works to address employee concerns. 

For example, if you’re using Timeero, you can show the employee that the GPS app doesn’t track them when off the clock. Then, request one of your trusted lieutenants to install the app on their device and take a short drive. 
Open the admin dashboard on a huge screen (use a projector) and ask the rest of the workforce to see what happens. During the test, ask the employee to clock out. The employees should see that the GPS app stops tracking their real-time location once they clock out. That should instill confidence and quell any concern about the manager micromanaging or invading their privacy while off the clock.

Explain the Benefits of the GPS System

This is about showing what’s in it for the employee. But, of course, your workforce knows that you’re introducing the GPS system primarily to boost the company’s bottom line and profitability. 

However, they may not be aware that the system also benefits them.

Take them through how the GPS system will improve their safety while on the road. For example, monitoring the driver’s real-time location can help you spot and warn new drivers when they are about to take a dangerous route. 

Moreover, advanced GPS tracking systems give drivers up-to-date data regarding road closure, traffic, accidents, and other obstructions that might cause unnecessary delays and dent productivity. 

Even better, specific GPS trackers sport accurate mileage tracking functionality. If employees use personal cars for business purposes, explain how the mileage tracker will help streamline mileage reimbursement. 

Additionally, the GPS system acts as proof of work. For example, in cases where a customer claims a worker didn’t show up, the GPS tracker can verify the employee’s presence at the job site.

The system also saves employees’ time by automating timesheet creation. Employees clock in and out, and the app automatically generates timesheets for admins and managers to review.

Employees can even attach before and after photos of their work directly in the mobile app, showcasing a job well done. This feature allows for better documentation and easy access to their accomplishments.

They can also add photos of receipts, such as those for supplies and gas, streamlining the reimbursement process and reducing paperwork.

Furthermore, some GPS apps let employees request time off directly from their mobile devices, eliminating the need for uncomfortable in-person requests and ensuring a smoother scheduling process.

These incentives will help employees wrap their heads around the location-tracking technology from the perspective of the benefits they get. This way, the employees will be more than willing to try out the new GPS app. 

timeero route replay
Timeero route replay helps you recreate the employees’ route when they were clocked in. The breadcrumbs provide timestamps and vehicle speed data. 

Take a Phased Implementation Approach

You have a clear GPS tracking automation policy and have demonstrated how the new software works. Still, you might want to consider a phased implementation approach. The idea here is to implement the GPS tracking app for one of your departments, branch, or section of the workforce.

 

Let’s say you own a fleet management or delivery business operating in different cities. You could implement GPS tracking for drivers in one of the cities and ask them to take it for a spin for a week. Then, during the trial period, you’ll know whether the app does what it says on the tin.

 

You’ll understand the strengths and weaknesses of the app from the perspective of your employees, and that’s what matters when dealing with pushback. 

Listen to Employee Feedback

Whether you opt for a phased approach or not, you’ll need to listen to your employees. Here, you’ll need to be tactful because different employees air their grievances differently — depending on whether it’s active or passive pushback. 

A study found that nearly half of the employees willingly share their disgruntlement with their managers, whereas 45% will remain silent or complain to their co-workers. Keep all lines of communication open and talk with departments to develop ways to make employees feel listened to. 

Have a town hall with the workforce to understand the full scale of their issue with the GPS tracking system. Ensure that no employee will be victimized or singled out for punishment for speaking up. This will open the door for a candid discussion, making it easier to find a lasting solution. 

Still, listening alone won’t win the case for you. 

Implement suggestions that smoothen the GPS app’s rough edges to streamline employee experience while aiding your organization’s mission. It’s okay to implement some employee suggestions, but not all. Read between the lines of every proposal, as rogue employees might resist the new technology because it exposes their ill behaviors. 

Final Thoughts

It’s natural for an employee to resist change. Whether you’re introducing a new GPS tracking system or changing an existing one, there’s no doubt that you’ll experience some bumps. 

There’s no cause for alarm if employees are dissatisfied with the new system.

The onus is on business owners to dig deeper and understand the cause of the problem. Once you get to the bottom of the issue, create a proper GPS tracking policy to establish the ground rules. In addition, take employees through how the system works, from installation and use to data collection and storage. 

When employees understand the nuts and bolts of the GPS system, its benefits, and the underlying procedures, their misconception and ambiguity will dissipate. 

Above everything else, use reliable GPS tracking software for your workforce. A thorough policy and transparent implementation process will count for nothing if the GPS tracking system leaks employee data and doesn’t provide accurate location data. 

This is why we recommend starting with a top-of-the-line GPS tracker such as Timeero. You can read our full Timeero review to learn more or take it for a spin risk-free with the 14-day free trial.

GPS Apps FAQs

What Are the Arguments Against GPS Tracking?

The biggest argument against GPS tracking is that it can potentially intrude on employee privacy. This is especially true if employees cannot turn off the GPS or location services. However, premium tools such as Timeero tracks employees only when they are on the clock.  

How Do Employees Feel About Being Monitored?

Many employees don’t mind their managers monitoring their location while working. The cohort also claims this isn’t different from having a boss monitor their activities in the office. 

However, the same workers would be bothered if an employer was to track them off the clock.

 

Can Companies Track Your Personal Phone?

Yes, your employer can track employees’ smartphones but can’t listen to your phone calls or see text messages or browsing history. Most GPS tracking software relies on your mobile device’s GPS insight and data to keep track of your movement while on the clock.

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AUTHOR
Samson Kiarie

Samson is a mathematician turned content marketer specializing in SaaS and Tech content. He focuses on the practical aspects of software systems while keeping abreast of the industry’s cutting-edge principles to create informative and engaging content. When he’s not writing, Samson spends time playing or watching soccer.

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