In 2018 there was plenty of excitement surrounding the potential of People Analytics. We published our take in Talent Intelligence: Unlocking People Data to Redefine How Humans Need to Work. Talent Intelligence will be the secret to solving your biggest talent jams:
- Finding and retaining top talent
- Fostering productivity, performance and well-being; and diversity and inclusion
- Driving agile, flexible attitudes toward human-to-human and human-to-machine collaboration that unlocks innovation
Put simply, Talent Intelligence will be the foundation of a long-overdue remodel of work. But before you can reap the rewards, there’s one big hurdle standing in your way: the Big Brother Burden.
As I embarked on my first talk track with the CFoW after joining the ranks in February 2018, I was excited to share my findings and thoughts in the talent intelligence space. But I was often faced with fiery concern – what about employee privacy? What about big brother? Have you even read 1984?
I’m not seeking pity, dear readers. This came as no surprise to me. After all, I talk about a broad spectrum of opportunity in the people analytics space spanning the next 5-10 years. This includes the study of behavior, health, emotional response and cognitive function through people data. Understandably spooky stuff to some. Hugely exciting for others. But I also stress the point that a vast amount of personal data is already being processed by consumer-facing outfits like the FAANG crew and we are either okay with it, or didn’t notice. The foundation for even more personal personal collection has already been laid.
That does not mean, however, that the correct way to collect data has been agreed upon. We break down the Big Brother Burden into four golden rules for the ethical collection of employee data. Organizations have to play by these rules if they want Talent Intelligence efforts to stick.
In this blog series I’ll take you through the four golden rules in a bit more detail…
- The New Ts&Cs: From Terms & Conditions to Transparency & Clarity. Make the “give-to-get” ratio clear and compelling.
- Remember Who Owns the Data. Portability counts. Employees own their data and have a right to download it and take it with them.
- Who’s Watching? Individual worker data should rarely be used and only when there’s a real business case for it. Otherwise, aggregate data to ensure anonymity.
- Only Ever If They Opt-In. Taking part in data collection in the workplace must always be optional, not mandated.
Dive in to get your data ducks in a row. Only then can you make the most of Talent Intelligence tactics.
The last thing you want from your employees is the reaction I get on my talk track. E.g. ‘I bet The Circle is your favorite film’. Fortunately for me, my job is to be provocative. Not the case when you’re CHRO. So sense-check of how your employees feel about data privacy. Ask the question ‘What is the workforce’s attitude toward data collection in the workplace?’
Use these answers to gauge how ready you are to dive into Talent Intelligence, taken from the paper’s Quick Quiz: Where Do You Stand with Talent Intelligence?:
A. Data collection … what data collection? Employees are unaware of their data being collected. If any visible monitoring tech was to be introduced, there would be a high risk of concern and distrust among employees.
B. The workforce is aware that data is being collected thanks to very high-level communication in a “companyALL” email. Employees don’t know what the data is being used for or why. There is skepticism surrounding workforce intelligence efforts.
C. Employees are aware of workforce intelligence efforts being carried out and sometimes understand the impact of these efforts. The workforce is unsure whether they own their data, or the employer does.
D. The workforce understands the workforce intelligence efforts currently being carried out and their associated rights. They know how to opt-out (and that they can do so at any time), but most don’t because the personal benefit is invaluable.
Your job is to get from A. to D. Use this blog series to help you achieve your Talent Intelligence goals in 2019.