Employee performance is typically encouraged to drive profits. High performance levels are admirable but only when your employees are able to maintain a healthy balance. Should this balance fall out of line due to intense pressure, employees may feel compelled to take drastic action. 

Drastic action may come in the form of cheating to enhance performance scores. Essentially, their efforts will look good on paper but both they and your business will suffer as a result.

High performance, high cheating levels

A 2017 study that included Volkswagen and Wells Fargo found that employees were cheating to enhance their performance scores. Intense pressure to perform was cited as one of the reasons for cheating. Another poll maintained that some people cheated by taking credit for work done by their colleagues. 

Production figures are altered to reflect good performance, exploitation of colleagues occurs and stealing the ideas of others were also cited as cheating methods. Some employees also fixed time cards to promote their self-interests. 

When employees are under enormous pressure, are unable to meet certain levels and are punished—cheating results.

Use technology to reduce cheating

Where the business climate is so focused on performance, employees may cheat to protect themselves. If the climate overlooks cheating or employees exploit weaknesses in the system for self-gain, it may be time to track their behavior. 

Call your employees together and inform them that you will be installing the spy phone app on their work phones. You will be able to use the GPS feature of this app to track their movements and use the Geo Fencing Tool to monitor activities. 

Installation of this app will encourage a culture of honesty, and help prevent cheating for self-gain or self-protection.

Find a balance

Cheating employees engage in this behavior when they cannot keep up with work pressure. Either the employee is a poor fit for the job, needs training or performance targets have been set too high. 

Lowering performance levels may cause employee and business stagnation. Some pressure is a positive motivator in the reverse. Encourage open and safe communications to establish a mutually beneficial middle ground. 

Conduct research to determine benchmarks in other businesses within the same industry. First, do your homework to determine if business expectations are unreasonable or whether employees need to make additional effort. If either party is at fault, adjustments need to be made.

Create achievable goals

Employees tend to push the boundaries by cheating when faced with insurmountable targets. If the pressure levels are too high, they can fall apart. Either way, the business opens itself up to the risk of mental health claims, or cheating. Create goals that are achievable to reduce the chance of either of these events occurring. 

Work closely with staff members to clarify goal requirements such as performance milestones, work quality and deadlines. If more than one person is complaining that pressure is too high, you need to listen. Work with your team to achieve great things rather than creating unnecessary conflict which impacts performance.

Establish a culture of integrity

Value systems in the business need to be clearly established and widely shared. Onboarding should inform employees of the company’s values, and that their behavior should align with these values. Failure to meet expectations can result in disciplinary action. 

If some employees choose to ignore this and pursue cheating when they see gaps rather than report weaknesses, they should be punished. Making an example of one or two guilty employees is sure to create a precedent. 

Likewise, leadership should clearly uphold the values of the business and make it clear that contraventions of integrity and values will not be tolerated.

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