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April 2019
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TD Magazine

Use Data Responsibly

Employees and executives are uncertain about whether they are using data effectively.

Organizations are increasingly collecting data on their employees—but they aren't always using that data responsibly. A new research report from Accenture surveyed 1,400 C-level executives and 10,000 workers across 13 industries to get their insights on workforce data collection. Decoding Organizational DNA reveals that 62 percent of C-level executives are at companies that use new technology to collect data on their employees. However, only 30 percent express confidence that they are using these data in a responsible way.

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Employees are similarly skeptical about how their data are being used, with 52 percent reporting that the use of workforce data risks damaging trust between employees and employers. This erosion of trust can have major business repercussions. Accenture found that $3.1 trillion of future revenue growth for large companies depends on whether employees trust employers' workforce data strategies, and companies that gain this trust could see higher growth than companies that don't. Companies that take care of employee data will benefit their bottom line. Those that don't will take a financial hit.

Accenture identified several other advantages to responsible employee data collection. Ninety-two percent of employees are open to data collection on them and their work as long as this collection improves their performance or well-being or provides other benefits. One of these benefits may be greater fairness or diversity, with 82 percent of employees saying that having reliable data will improve fairness in pay, promotions, and appraisal decisions. Employees are also willing to have their data used to create more customized compensation, rewards, and benefits (62 percent) or more customized L&D experiences (61 percent).

There are tremendous opportunities offered by workforce data collection—as long as companies commit to using that data in a responsible, employee-centric way.

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About the Author

Eliza Blanchard, APTD, is ATD's Learning & Development content manager. Contact her at eblanchard@td.org.

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