Are You Using Employee Data Responsibly?

Posted February 1, 2019 by Mary McGinley

Our personal information is more valuable than at any other time in history. The lines between what employees keep private and what is public are closely scrutinized by employers. How employees’ personal data is used has become an increasing cause for concern.

According to a story by Eric Rosenbaum which appeared on the CNBC website, most senior leaders of businesses, some 70% around the world, have indicated that they are “not highly confident” that employee data can be collected and analyzed in a responsible manner. This information can include information like employee performance, pay, and the market value of worker skill sets and certifications. Some 75% of business leaders are concerned that this kind of information can turn workers into commodities. Because roughly half (49%) of managers have said that they will use such information in whatever way that they see fit with no additional policies for handling such data in place, such concerns are not unfounded.

“It hasn’t been top of mind with U.S. employees, but it is becoming a bigger issue,” says Ellyn Shook, chief leadership and human resources officer for Accenture. Workers are thinking carefully before allowing employers to access their information. Shook further suggested that companies should be rewarding workers who do decide to share their precious data. For instance, workers who use health devices like a FitBit, for example, should be given credit for it on their healthcare benefits according to Shook.

With more and more companies investing in smart technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) facial recognition, remote task monitoring, or encouraging workers to bring their own devices, having such information policies in place is important.  According to Shook, there still exists today a bit of a disconnect between companies and workers. Rather than merely investing in modern technology, there needs to be more spent on the people who are doing the jobs.