Monitoring employee activity with HR technology is nothing new, which is probably why using GPS tracking devices in company vehicles is becoming increasingly commonplace.
In fact, a study of 500 Australian employees undertaken by employee time tracking software and scheduling company, TSheets, revealed one third of them had been tracked by their employer.
And even though your people may not necessarily like the idea, GPS vehicle tracking is fast becoming the industry standard for any business with company cars and employer-issued devices. And just like virtual reality and other HR technology, it’s set to transform all workplaces.
GPS devices in company vehicles
With a GPS device, you can track driver routes and see which drivers can respond quickly to your customer’s needs to enhance customer service. From an admin point of view, you can use the data from a GPS device to generate log books and record business usage while eliminating paper based processes.
And GPS systems can be a boon to driver safety by alerting drivers to unsafe driving practices such as speeding, harsh braking, cornering and so on. While as a manager, you can monitor driver behaviour and educate the team on safe driving practices.
Of course, by using a GPS system to track a company vehicle, you can extract additional information about the particular employee who’s driving the car: where they went, for how long, how frequently etc.
And this begs the question on where you need to draw the line.
Where to draw the line?
For example, tracking a company vehicle (and as such the employee using it) during an employee’s work hours is directly related to the employee’s work as it’s part of the employment relationship. It’s exempt from the Privacy Act.
However, when it ticks over into the employee’s personal time, the Privacy Act kicks in, and this means you need to comply with your obligations around collecting and using data about the location of the vehicle (and the employee) after work hours.
What should HR managers be doing?
If you’re planning to use GPS tracking, there’s a few boxes you need to tick to achieve HR compliance.
In general, you must obtain consent from all parties involved prior to using tracking devices to record employee activity. Such employee consent can form part of your employment contract, or you can notify employees of the use of tracking devices in vehicles via a new workplace policy.
Implementing GPS vehicle tracking
In terms of best practices, use this five-step approach to introduce GPS tracking to your workplace:
- Define your objectives for the use of GPS tracking within the business.
- Consult with all employees, advising them of your plans to commence GPS tracking.
- Publish a new workplace policy on GPS tracking. Like any workplace policy, ensure your employees sign their acknowledgement of the program and keep a record on each employee’s file.
- Provide any necessary training on operation of the GPS system.
- Ensure you display GPS tracking labels on vehicles and equipment.
GPS tracking of employees will continue to grow
Whether your people like it or not, the use of HR technology and GPS tracking technology to keep an eye on your people, and assets like cars and employer-issued mobile devices will continue to grow.
The data can help you make sure your people workers are clocking in and out on time, and that remote employees are where they say they are. Tracking systems can also help you make sure their employees are reporting mileage correctly, and that they aren’t taking detours between jobs.
However, it’s really important that you limit the information you gather from GPS systems to the bare minimum you need for business efficiency, safety or productivity reasons. The best way to protect against invasion-of-privacy claims is to disable tracking when it’s not needed, especially outside of business hours.