From today’s Harvard Business Review:
Today’s organizations have more data about their employees than ever before, and the volume and variety of accessible information continues to grow. There are two key drivers behind this shift.
First, the availability of data has expanded dramatically over the course of the past few years. When organizations made the rapid shift to remote or hybrid working, they created new digital work channels that could be monitored and tracked. (Think Slack messages instead of hallway conversations.) A 2022 Gartner survey found that 51% of organizations are now gathering data they didn’t collect before the pandemic: 26% have started logging email activity in the past three years, 21% now process data around who employees talk and work with most frequently, and 15% have begun to analyze data from virtual meetings.
Second, organizations in 2023 are facing higher levels of accountability for employee health and well-being. For example, individuals’ health data may have been considered extremely private in 2019, but by 2021, employees routinely shared information about Covid exposures or vaccination status as a basic employment requirement.
More broadly, Gartner research shows that 82% of employees want their organizations to treat them as humans, not just workers. Effective personal support requires data — on everything from family and caregiving responsibilities to mental health needs — and that data can provoke some very real privacy concerns.
As organizations have more mechanisms for getting personal data and more motivation for leveraging it, they need better guidelines for doing so responsibly — especially since this trend is already attracting increased regulatory scrutiny.
But fair, transparent handling of employee data isn’t just a compliance mandate — it’s also the first step toward creating the trust-based partnership that both employees and their employers will need to thrive in this more complex data environment. A Gartner 2021 analysis revealed that employees who trust their organizations with their data perform 20% better and are substantially more likely to want to stay in their jobs than employees with low levels of trust. When employees are partners, not just targets, in data collection and usage, everyone simply works better.
Read the complete story here.