Other parts of this series:
Why insurers should tap into their organizational DNA, and their employees should too.
Every insurance organization has unique needs, and therefore a unique approach to the workplace data it creates and needs to collect in order to measure its performance. Accenture research has shown that attitudes to data differ to country to country. For example, people in the US are more concerned about the misuse of data than those in Europe. Employees in BRICs countries such as India, Brazil and China are more convinced of the value of data collection than those in other countries. However, while there may be discrepancies in how leaders and employees feel about data, there is one common denominator: workplace data is largely owned by the business, and has not been distributed fairly or strategically. Businesses, including insurers that naturally generate a great deal of data in their line of work, could see dramatic positive changes if they give their employees control and ownership over their data, as well as the motivation to share it.
Protection of workplace data is years behind
Insurers understand the concept of protecting consumer data, and the legal implications that involves. However, correct treatment of employees’ work-related data lags behind. When the protection of consumer data became a central issue, many companies had to rapidly bring their processes in line to ensure compliance. Ethically, companies should protect the privacy of their customers and employees regardless of legislation. Forward-thinking insurers should start proactively defining their approach to workplace data now, to make the most of this powerful resource and avoid potential legal implications at a later stage.
Workplace data skews heavily toward the corporation
Only 32 percent of the employees we surveyed said they had consented to the use of their workplace data, and understood how their company was extracting it. While consumers are given the option to opt in and out of sharing information, and even to pursue legal action against companies that violate privacy terms, employees are not given this privilege. Fifty-five percent of the business leaders we spoke to said that their companies do not currently ask for consent when collecting workplace data.
The legal position on workforce data is unclear. Only two states in the US – Delaware and Connecticut – require companies to inform employees that they are using new technologies to collect their data. Of course, many companies don’t operate in single states or countries, which creates further complexity. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) defines best practice in the European Union and is inspiring many global companies to follow suit.
Insurers must give to get
Data is an issue that begins at a strategic level and has a powerful impact on a company’s culture. In order to access valuable data, insurers need to establish a “give to get” relationship with employees, in which employees give consent and feel that they gain something in the exchange. Ninety-two percent of the employees we spoke to were open to the use of workplace data if they got something in return – and the more customized the benefits, the better.
Where to next?
Insurers can take a number of steps to shift the management of workplace data in their business.
- Secure consent. The best way to establish buy-in to employees is to ‘secure consent.’ However, this should not be a blanket document laden with legal jargon that is signed when an employee joins the company and soon forgotten about. A consent contract should be written in accessible language and tailored to the nature of the workplace and the employee’s role.
- Create a data dashboard. There should be a single place where employees are able to see, manage and even delete the data that their employer has collected about them. Seventy-one percent of employees in our study said they would only be willing to let their employer collect data on them if the results were transparently communicated.
- Use innovative technology to build transparency. Companies can use advances in technology, such as blockchain, to help employees see what data has been collected, how it is being used and who has access to it.
From the figures above, it is clear that legal boundaries and privacy practice need to be defined to the outset, especially in financial services industries such as insurance. In my next post in the series, I will discuss how insurers can map out a strategic approach to data. If you would like to get started on your own tailored workforce data strategy, contact me.
To read further on Organizational DNA, download the Accenture Strategy report, ‘Putting Trust to Work. Decoding Organizational DNA: Trust, Data and Unlocking Value in the Digital Workplace’ here.