Employee Privacy in the Workplace Leads to Trust

Posted by
Apr 16, 2019
Reviewed by
Jan 16, 2024
min. read
Table of Contents

With technology constantly changing, there are more ways than ever for an employer to monitor an employee’s performance. Many employees feel their privacy is being breached, decreasing their ability to trust the companies for which they work. The happy medium lies in finding a way to keep company information from being leaked while improving employee morale.

Current Trends in Employee Evaluation

A study by global research firm, Gartner, showed that 22% of organizations use employer-movement data, 17% monitor work-computer-usage data, and 16% use Microsoft Outlook or calendar usage data. These statistics were worldwide and covered several different types of industries.

Many companies use evaluation software that allows them to see an employee’s email usage, what websites were visited, internet searches, social media usage, and much more. Other companies are considering taking a more direct approach with:

  • Bracelets for inventory workers which track their location and how often they add or remove items from inventory bins.
  • Sensory systems in retail stores that evaluate noises of scanners and employees speaking as well as the number of items placed in bags.
  • Wearable badges that can tell if an employee is sitting, standing, or speaking with someone face to face.
  • Location trackers in company cars that can also tell when an employee is speeding or slamming on the brakes.

Privacy Laws in Place

In the United States, employers have certain rights as to what they are allowed to monitor. There are a variety of areas that are covered including:

  • Email if— using the company’s computer system, the company may monitor email if they have legitimate business in doing so. Productivity and illegal use are a couple of things they look for.
  • Phone Calls/Voicemails— While business-related calls may be monitored, there are some limits. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act prevents a company from listening in on personal phone calls, even if made on work premises. Voicemails messages at work also may not be tampered with in any way.
  • U.S. Postal Mail— if a piece of mail is addressed to an individual using the workplace’s address, then an employer has the right to open it.

While privacy laws in the workplace are somewhat minimal, there are a growing number of data protection laws Washington D.C.’s recent Security Breach Protection Amendment Act of 2019 requires that companies remain responsible for a variety of information including health insurance information, biometric data, and passport numbers. This bodes well for employees whose records are stored within company systems. These are the types of regulations that build trust between a company and a worker.

Creating a Foundation of Trust

It is no secret that without trust, the foundation of any company is at risk of collapsing. A study done by PWC found that 55% of CEOs believe a lack of trust in the workplace is a threat to the company. In the world of retaining and sharing personal information, fewer than a third of executives are quoted by Accenture as saying they do not feel confident that they are using the data they collect in a responsible way.

A representative from Accenture said trust can be built by giving employees control over their data in exchange for sharing data, or by creating an environment of shared responsibility. The SecureDrive satisfies both of those criteria. These easy-to-use encrypted hard drives can be easily implemented in any workplace.

Working Between Departments

Employees can feel more confident in sharing their data if they know it will be properly stored. The military grade hardware encryption and epoxy coating of the SecureDrive ensure no more data leaks. Employers can store employee records including personal data and work productivity habits.

The SecureDrive BT model allows for the admin to see when the drive was accessed and by whom. If the drive is used to share delicate information among employees, corporate can ensure that the Drives are being used properly. Accenture says that employees feeling they are surveilled without knowing how the information is used can create a negative work environment. The SecureDrives would be equally shared among all levels of workers.

If an employee can trust the device holding their data and how corporate use it, they may be fueled to work harder, resulting in outstanding evaluations.

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Laura Bednar

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