Employees Find Workplace Monitoring Objectionable
A new HR Metrics & Analytics Summit survey found that 80% of organizations are using employee records and data to measure performance. A fair number of organizations are also using employee records and data to measure retention and reduce turnover, enhance engagement and recruitment. Interestingly, less than 40% of organizations are making use of employee data to enhance company culture.
The data shows that employees find it the most acceptable to be monitored through workplace-related tasks, work email accounts, and work phones. The most unacceptable monitoring platforms are private social media accounts, physical movements within the workplace, and personal interactions. Overall, employees do not mind data collection related to concrete business goals but are generally opposed to being monitored through personal sources. Seventy-two percent of respondents find it unacceptable for employers to monitor private social media accounts. More than half additionally indicated that tracking physical movements and personal interactions in the workplace is objectionable.
"As organizations collect more personal and business data about their employees, it raises a number of risks and ethical questions about data security, transparency, and communication standards," says Tiffany Ramirez, Content Editor, IQPC's HR Metrics & Analytics Summit.
Eight-five percent of HR leaders have set privacy and security guidelines regarding what employee information is collected, how it is stored, and if it is used appropriately, but approximately 15% do not have guidelines.
"Companies are collecting and analyzing unprecedented quantities of unstructured data and it has created a new outlook on the capabilities of workforce analytics," says Ramirez. "Although these capabilities have created a lot of excitement, they have also generated some anxiety and debate. While the benefits of these capabilities are potentially game-changing, data privacy concerns are on the rise."
Among the employees responding to the survey, 95% indicated that they are most concerned with knowing that their data is secure against hacking and theft, as well as desiring that their employer be transparent on what data is being collected. More than half would object if their employer asked them to use "wearable" technology to track their physical movements in the workplace. Less than a third are open to wearing such technology for tracking purposes.
When employees were asked if they trust their company to protect their data, almost half (48%) indicated that they do not. Among the reasons for this are mistrust in protecting data, insecure software in the workplace, incompetent IT departments, previously misplaced data (by the employer), and zero transparency regarding how their data is protected.
Employees are most open to data collection by their employer for the following benefits: A better-designed workplace, retention/promotions, and more favorable employee incentives. However, they have grave concerns about the protection of their privacy and are generally opposed to being monitored through personal sources.