managemnet company strategy managemanet Why Your Organization Needs a Bill of Rights for Employee Data

Why Your Organization Needs a Bill of Rights for Employee Data

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Organizations today have more data about their employees than ever before, and the amount and variety of available information continues to grow. There are two main drivers behind this shift.

First, the availability of data has increased dramatically over the past few years. When organizations make the rapid shift to remote or hybrid working, they create new digital work channels that can be monitored and tracked. (Think Slack messages instead of hallway conversations.) A 2022 Gartner survey found that 51% of organizations now collect data they didn’t collect before the pandemic: 26% who started logging email activity in the last three years, 21% are now in the process. data around who employees regularly communicate and work with, and 15% began analyzing data from virtual meetings.

Second, organizations in 2023 face higher level of accountability for employee health and well-being. For example, individuals’ health data may be considered highly private in 2019, but in 2021, employees will routinely share information about Covid exposure or vaccination status as a basic employment requirement.

More broadly, Gartner research shows that 82% of employees want their organizations to treat them as people, not just workers. Effective personal support requires data – on everything from family responsibilities and care to mental health needs – and that data can raise some real privacy concerns.

As organizations have more mechanisms to obtain personal data and more incentives to use it, they need better guidelines for doing it responsibly – especially since this trend is already attracting increasing REGULATIONS EXAMINING.

But fair, transparent employee data management isn’t just a compliance mandate — it’s also the first step toward creating the trust-based trust that employees and their employers need to thrive in this increasingly complex world. data environment. A Gartner 2021 analysis revealed that employees who trust their organizations with their data perform 20% better and are more likely to stay in their jobs than employees who have less confidence level. When employees are partners, not just targets, in the collection and use of data, everyone works better.

What Data Rights Should Employees Have?

An data bill of employee rights provides organizations with a set of basic principles for how to collect and use employee data, even as technologies or business needs change. While workplaces may operate with different regulatory constraints or technological capabilities, four basic principles should set expectations for how employers use information about their workforce:

Purpose right: The organization has a legitimate and specific business purpose for all the data it collects.

The right to purpose means that organizations clearly define the reason they are requesting employee data HISTORY really collected. Employers need to ask themselves why they collect any new data, how they process it, and how long they need to retain it to fulfill their core purpose.

The right to purpose both builds trust with employees and helps analytics teams avoid collecting and storing data that doesn’t really provide value. It also prevents potentially unethical use cases from entering. For example, if an organization monitors foot traffic to ensure efficient use of office space, it would violate the right to object if that data is shared with managers to assess performance based on how much time is spent on employees from their desks. This does not mean that organizations cannot reuse the data they already have, but the new purpose must be clearly defined and clearly communicated to employees as well. A company that originally started monitoring employees’ calendar data to help determine when office hours should be open, for example, might find value in using the same data to help managers prevent their teams from burning out in too many meetings.

The right to reduce: The organization will not collect more data than it needs to effectively fulfill the legitimate business purpose.

Once a specific business purpose is defined, the right to curtail requires organizations to limit the data they collect to what is absolutely necessary. That means critically evaluating how many collection organization and how sensitive that data. If an organization wants to track the productivity of remote employees, for example, they can use usage data from core work applications instead of relying on more invasive methods like. monitoring employee webcams.

Getting this right sometimes requires a judgment call on which data is “good enough” and which is critical to success. This question is particularly important as AI tools, which rely on large volumes of high-quality data, become more common and capable. The right to minimize means considering whether the additional information will allow your organization to be more effective, and whether it outweighs the risk to employee trust.

The right to fairness: The organization will use the data in ways that strengthen the fairness of the workforce.

The core of an effective data partnership between employers and employees is to ensure that both sides benefit from the data collected. As organizations use more sensitive data (including data related to health, family obligations, location, and race and gender identity) to better support employees or achieve diversity and inclusion targets, the risk of any conscious or unconscious bias in decision-making increases. The new wealth of data available to organizations should improve – not limit – equality of access, opportunity, and treatment.

The most effective way to uphold the right to fairness is to build it into decision-making processes from the beginning. At an international retail corporation we work with, HR doesn’t wait to assess workforce diversity after employees are hired. They use robust data analysis to ensure an inclusive pool of applicants, then re-evaluate the candidate, interview, and selection stages. This organization also trains leaders to identify where data may show bias and provides managers with an analytics dashboard to monitor ongoing trends in Car hire and retention.

The right to know: The organization will explain to employees what data is used for what purposes.

The right to knowledge is the key ingredient that makes other rights work. This means that employees understand what data is collected about them, how it is used, and if applicable, how to access that information. Without awareness, employees’ trust levels and perceptions of fairness will not change.

That said, employees don’t need to be data scientists to know that their rights are being respected. There should be a solid communications plan in place, including tailored communications to ensure messaging is relevant to employees’ roles and experiences. For example, when collecting potentially sensitive personally identifiable data for DEI use cases, an organization can match a company-wide message from an executive leader that reinforces the commitment. of the organization to the DEI and explains how to use the data with more targeted communication with the employee resource. groups on how data-informed DEI decisions can benefit them. All communication about employee data should be simple, timely, and delivered through a communication channel that is easily accessible and easy to use.

Feedback is also an important part of knowledge. Employees should have mechanisms in place to ask questions and report concerns. Of course, in the context of the employer-employee relationship, some data should not be shared (such as performance evaluation data or health records). Otherwise, the explanation should be the default.

The Employee Data Bill of Rights in Practice

An data bill of employee rights are not meant to exist as abstract principles. Organizations should codify and share their own list of rights to use employee data, adding to the four main concepts above based on their specific context. The City of Utrecht, Netherlands, provides a model for how to do it. They have publicly published their digital values ​​and committed to supporting them through policy.

Leaders must also be responsible for complying with the stated data rights of employees. A financial services organization we work with has established a dedicated internal task force to ensure an appropriate balance of business benefits and personal privacy when using employee data. Some organizations have launched data ethics boards that include HR and employee representatives and regularly consult with internal experts to audit their employee data practices.

The boundaries between personal and employee data will continue to blur as technology advances and worker expectations shift. An employee data rights bill – consistently enforced and clearly communicated – can help organizations unlock the full potential of their data resources to support employees as people and achieve their business objectives.

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