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4 out of 5 Employers Using Tech to Track Workers’ Activities

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Big Brother is watching in the workplace and employees are OK with it, so long as it doesn’t extend to their personal life.

A survey conducted for the HR Metrics & Analytics Summit found that 80% of responding organizations are using employee records and data to measure performance. The survey also found that organizations are using employee records and data to measure retention and reduce turnover, enhance engagement and recruitment. But, less than 40% of organizations are making use of employee data to enhance company culture.

The data show that employees find it the most acceptable to be monitored through workplace-related tasks, work email accounts and work phones. The most unacceptable monitoring platforms are private social media accounts, physical movements within the workplace and personal interactions. Overall, employees do not mind data collection related to concrete business goals but are generally opposed to being monitored through personal sources.

72% of respondents find it unacceptable for employers to monitor private social media accounts. More than half additionally indicated that tracking physical movements and personal interactions in the workplace is objectionable.

“As organizations collect more personal and business data about their employees, it raises a number of risks and ethical questions about data security, transparency and communication standards,” said Tiffany Ramirez, content editor, IQPC's HR Metrics & Analytics Summit.

85% of HR leaders have set privacy and security guidelines regarding what employee information is collected, how it is stored and if it is used appropriately. About 15% do not have guidelines.

Almost all (95%) of employees responding to the survey indicated that they are most concerned with knowing that their data is secure against hacking and theft, as well as desiring that their employer be transparent on what data is being collected. More than half would object if their employer asked them to use wearable technology to track their physical movements in the workplace. Less than one-third are open to wearing such technology for tracking purposes.

When employees were asked if they trust their company to protect their data, almost half (48%) indicated that they do not. Among the reasons indicated: mistrust in protecting data; insecure software in the workplace; incompetent IT departments; previously misplaced data (by the employer); and zero transparency regarding how their data is protected.

Employees are most open to data collection by their employer for the following benefits: a better-designed workplace; retention/promotions and more favorable employee incentives.

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