People analytics: the ethical dilemma
HR has a big opportunity to help close the gap between individuals, business, public policy and technology as the latter outpaces legislation and desire. However, 81% of people analytics projects are jeopardised by ethics and privacy concerns and 84% of professionals think HR urgently needs guidance on the fair use and privacy of new and emerging data sources in workforce analytics, says IBM Watson Talent global director of people analytics solutions David Green.
Research by IBM on Ethical Dilemmas in HR Analytics surveying 20,000 workers in 44 countries found four distinct types of ethical outlook: absolutists, situationalists, subjectivists and exceptionalists.
The dominant ethical ideology is absolutism, strongest in 73% of countries. Second is situationalism, which dominated in just 18% of countries. These cultural preferences should be considered when setting an organisation’s ethical policies and guidelines. For global companies, this could prove problematic if offices are located in countries with different ethical ideologies about the use of people data.
Four elements to consider in relation to people analytics and ethics
- BE PREPARED
Partner with legal and IT
Establish a governance council
Publish a code of practice
Get ready for GDPR
Have an expert on your team
- BE OPEN
Be clear on the why
Allow employees to opt in or opt out
Personalise and empower
Promote transparency and trust
- BE AGILE
Don’t be afraid to be brave
Do pilots: test, validate, iterate
Communicate success and create momentum
Look outside your organisation
- BE ETHICAL
Help employees understand their digital footprint
Can is replaced by should
Don’t forget the H in HR
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