Study: Employees use messaging apps for work without HR's knowledge
- Slightly more than half of deskless workers said they use messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Skype as often as six times a day for work-related activities, and 16% of these respondents said their HR departments don't know about it, according to a Speakap survey.
- Speakap identified three serious problems with using messaging tools for workplace communication: data security, digital well-being and regulatory compliance. Almost 40% of respondents in the study said the apps' 24/7 messaging capabilities and social media connections complicated their ability to maintain work-life balance. And 12% expressed worry that sensitive data could be exposed by data breaches. According to Speakap Co-Founder Patrick Van Der Mijl, "the unapproved use of these tools could potentially cause a company to fail an audit without ever causing a data breach, especially in highly regulated industries."
- Healthy work-life balance affects employee satisfaction — a quarter of respondents said this balance is the most important aspect of how their company connects with them, the survey found. The same amount said a company-wide social network would enable them to easily access interactive training and development content.
Digital breaches are too pervasive and potentially detrimental for organizations to ignore. And when cyber breaches are caused by internal lapses, such as using unapproved messaging apps, HR and IT leaders can step in to reduce the risks. Human error is the common cause of cybersecurity threats, but only 25% of employers offer training to help workers understand the vulnerability of systems and how to avert breaches, according to a recent study by Mimecast. Michael Madon, Mimecast's general manager of security awareness products, told HR Dive in an interview that the number and seriousness of breaches continues to rise because human error hasn't been addressed.
Messaging technology has made workplace communication fast, easy and efficient. But it can also keep employees from separating their personal lives from their work commitments, a separation that is necessary for maintaining health and general well-being. Employers can encourage workers to break periodically from technology's 24/7 access, just as they might when workers stay digitally connected to the office while vacationing.
HR must be vigilant about ensuring that workers aren't using unauthorized digital platforms. Besides offering workers training in cyber safety, HR and IT leaders can work together on drafting cybersecurity policies, which organizations must enforce.