New GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) legislation are here to protect the privacy of individuals. And why not? With a clear proof of Cambridge Analytica and the doubtful case of Facebook listening to our conversations on phone, regulations were needed for a long time. But it did come, eventually.
But seems like it’s not just social media accounts and phones depriving us of our privacy, talent management systems and employment practices too are involved in making us a little less private person. According to a study by Alfresco and as reported by Fast Company, most employers are snooping on web history, emails, and chat messages of their employees.
There were different people from whom responses were received which included 307 professionals working in the IT industry working in the US and UK organizations. Each organization had an approximate number of 500 employees and it turned out- a whopping 98% of employers monitor their employees’ online presence and activities.
Many companies are open about the policy wherein they explicitly state digital monitoring is part and parcel of an organizational ecosystem. Moreover, they have a proper digital etiquette in place as to what is expected of employee digital behavior. 11% of employees have no idea they are being monitored. And shockingly, 11% employers said their employees would be surprised about the kind and amount of data being captured about them from different sources and 65% said, the data collection about employees would be a matter of concern for the employees.
That’s not all. A lot of results came out of the survey. Some of them are:
• Companies to a limit of 87% are involved in email monitoring
• 70% organizations check employees’ web browser history
• 55% employers agree to monitoring Chatter and Slack
• Talent management systems to the limit of 41% keep a tab on work voicemail
• Social media profiles and professional networks the likes of which are Facebook and LinkedIn are under the scrutiny of 34% employers
Talent development is not an easy task. Mired in controversies of privacy breaches and break in confidentiality parameters, it often takes a backseat. Also, data handling is related to legal issues in an organization.
Article 29 Working Party (An advisory body which consists of a representative of data protection authorities from the European Data Protection Supervisor, EU Member State, and the European Commission) advises employers to treat employees’ data with confidentiality and the kind of respect it deserves. The employees must be duly informed of monitoring their data, the purposes of it and the circumstances under which data is being collected and subjected to scrutiny if any. They must also be told about the level of control they can exercise over the data collection.
Moreover, Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) code has certain guidelines regarding what kind of data can be collected and what can’t be collected. It stipulates for the information to be used solely for the purpose it was collected for and for no other use. However, there’s an exception. If the collected data points to something out of place or legal incompliances- then certainly, that data can be pursued and taken action against.
In the world of talent management and development, security and privacy are important for the organizations. The see-saw between talent development and security has to be balanced quite effectively to not let talent suffer and also to have an organization’s need of data fulfilled. It depends on the CHROs as to how concerned they are about data protection. If not concerned, how are they going to streamline data needs to the new GDPR regulations.