Collaborat​ion

Balancing Analytics and Privacy

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Today’s remote workforce model means employees can function virtually anywhere, which has benefits for workers and their employers. With that workforce comes an increased reliance on online communication tools, which can provide valuable talent and workforce analytics. But as organizations tap into those insights, the line between private and public blurs. As companies try to navigate these murky waters, we asked thought leaders to weigh in on how to harness email, social and other communications content while respecting employee privacy.

Click to view the video.

Click to view the video.

How companies deal with privacy issues on a case–by-case basis varies, but futurists say many of those pitfalls can be avoided when companies have solid policies in place to guide employees. Brian Moran, Founder/CEO of Brian Moran & Associates, explains, “It’s imperative that all companies have some sort of social media manual about the dos and don’ts of what you can do on social media, especially when you acknowledge where you work.” This last point is critical because employees need to understand that once they identify where they work on social media, anything they say in those channels can be construed as a representation of their employer.

In addition to establishing protocols, futurists say companies need to make sure their workforce analytics searches are targeted. Rather than trying to look at all available data, which is an onerous task, decide what information is most important to the company and focus on those metrics. Once pertinent metrics have been defined, communicating them to employees will go a long way toward fostering trust. According to Janine Truitt, CIO of Talent Think Innovations, “You do have to be very clear about what it is you are looking for, and what the business reason is for using those analytics to do whatever you’re going to do. If we can be a lot more targeted and be able to pull apart segments of data to serve what we are trying to figure out, it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Establishing transparency between employees and the company is also critical for employee buy-in. Employees understand that segments of their data will likely be utilized but they need to understand that the employer’s intentions are for the good of the company and that the data will not be misused. Bernie Borges, Founder/CEO of Find and Convert, expands on the thought: “When the employee wants to engage proactively with a plan, then you’ve got less of a privacy issue because then the employee wants to be involved and is very proactive in that process.” When companies can achieve this level of transparency, they can leverage valuable workplace analytics that will move the organization ahead while maintaining critical employee trust and goodwill.

To learn more, watch the video featuring Mark Babbitt, Bernie Borges, Marsha Collier, Dion Hinchcliffe, Bill Jensen, Brian Moran and Janine Truitt. Then visit www.ibm.com/SocialBusiness. Also, join the conversation on Twitter by using #NewWayToWork.

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