Study: Employers must handle workforce data responsibly to win workers' trust
- Business leaders will need to make smarter use of workforce data to win employees' trust if they want to grow their organization's bottom line, Accenture Strategy concluded in "Decoding Organizational DNA," a global survey of 1,400 C-level executives and 10,000 workers.
- According to the report, 62% of C-level executives said their organizations are using new technologies to collect data on their workers, but less than one-third said they think they're using the data responsibly. More than half of workers said using new sources of workforce data can damage trust, but 92% are open to their company collecting data on their work if it improves their performance or well-being or generates personal benefits. Almost two-thirds of employees said that recent scandals over the misuse of data has them worried that their employee data will be compromised. About the same amount of workers would trade their work-related data for more-customized compensation, benefits and rewards; 61% would do the same for more customized learning and development opportunities.
- The report recommended that employers use data responsibly by: 1) giving workers far more control over their own data; 2) sharing the responsibility of data use across the C-suite and getting workers involved in designing data systems; and 3) using artificial intelligence and other technologies to give employees more growth opportunities and improve diversity and fairness.
Employees have reason to be concerned that any data collected on them might be used inappropriately. That makes employee-employer trust a needed element in a workplace, Ellyn Shook, Accenture's chief leadership and HR officer, said in a statement. "At a time when companies are using newly available workforce data to drive greater value, responsible leadership is the key to building employee trust," Shook said. "Trust is the ultimate currency — it's the path to innovation and fuels growth by unlocking people's potential."
Organizations that lack trust, a positive culture and career development opportunities are rated the worst employers, according to a 24/7 Wall Street report. Organizations where management isn't trusted often fail to let employees in on how the business is performing and what long- and short-term goals it has made. When collecting workforce data, employers can make trust the focus of their efforts by getting workers involved in the process.