There is a big difference between tracking employees and analyzing activity logs.
Tracking employees’ activity is a big no-no.
No one wants to feel there is a big brother looking from behind their backs. It’s been tried many times, using RFID embedded in badges, with cameras both hidden and in plain view or by other means. And it doesn’t work for two reasons: first, active tracking has a conscious effect on employees’ behaviors and second, no one can really make any sense of the collected data. It certainly doesn’t help promote good vibes in the workplace, and it is an illegal procedure in many countries.
On the other hand the analysis of activity logs, beginning with attendance and including communications and any other entry logged by software applications provide a very reliable and granular picture of what we do at work.
And since activity logs are by and large metadata they don’t contain sensitive information like customer data, sales values, medical records, etc. They are automatically collected by most software applications and are free to use with no cost. Most importantly their analysis is non invasive so it doesn’t influence nor muddle with the results.
Activity logs provide an automatically normalized baseline to compare people activities not only among peers but also for the same person over time. They are a clear signal of an employee’s happiness or frustration and can usefully be related to productivity and effectiveness.
When correlating activity data with significant events, especially in large organizations, the trends measurable through activity data can be used to predict dramatic outcomes such as an employee resigning for instance.
Sophisticated AI algorithms can be trained to find recurrent patterns and predict in advance future events so that negative outcomes can be mitigated improving happiness and effectiveness at work.