The Harvard Business Review (HBR) recently surveyed more than 10,000 workers, across all skill levels and generations, and 1400 C-level executives, in 13 countries and 13 industries to uncover how companies collect and harvest employee data in the workplace. They found that more than 90% of employees were fine with their employees mining their data only if it would somehow benefit them. In reality, employees are typically concerned with how companies handle their data, with only 30% of executives reporting that they were highly confident that they were using the data responsibly.
When employees don’t trust their employers, the company could be risking a loss in revenue. The difference in revenue growth rates between losing and earning employee trust through the use of workforce data is 12.5%, according to Into the New. HBR’s research provides three key guidelines for securing your employees’ trust while integrating new technologies and data practices.
Give Employees More Control
Data that is collected within the workforce does not always offer employees the rights that have led consumer-driven data to become more accessible and regulated over the past few years. It is important that you provide your employees with the opportunity to view, manage, and even delete the data their employer has collected about them. If you are using your data to improve job performance, not to penalize, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Create a System of Checks and Balances
One person should not call every shot surrounding new technologies, especially when privacy and employee morale are at stake. JPMorgan Chase, for instance, enlists three members of the C-suite—human resources, risk, and legal—to “come together to thoughtfully consider how we balance data insights for business benefit and respect for individuals’ privacy — looking through the lens of strategic business resiliency, risk and the ability to elevate our people,” according to CHRO Robin Leopold. This ensures that every element that could be affected by new technologies is being considered.
Use Data to Elevate People, Not Penalize Them
New technologies create a slippery slope into a highly surveilled workplace. For instance, many companies use technology to track employee performance and see how fast they are working, sharing “real-time results on scorecards or in a live gaming format.” The potential negatives of such practices are obvious—workers start to feel like they are not trusted with their responsibilities and every move is being watched, leading to higher stress, lower job satisfaction, and, ultimately, more turnover. If you’re monitoring your employees day-to-day tasks, make sure you are not doing so with the threat of penalization, but with a genuine interest in making them more efficient and happier with their jobs.