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Personal Data in the Workplace


A disconcerting result from a survey conducted by Accenture and released at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland¹ shows almost eight in every ten business leaders globally said using workforce data will help them grow their existing business, but more than two-thirds (70%) of those business leaders say they are “not very confident” that they are using new sources of workplace data in a “highly responsible” way.

Research showed that in response to ethical concerns, some businesses are leaving value on the table by holding back on collecting workforce data.


While employees have concerns, however, they are overwhelmingly in favor of the practice, if the data is collected responsibly and benefits them. Employees say that in return for their permission to collect data, employers will have to give them more control over how it is used. The most common benefits gained in return for data are improved productivity and performance; safety at work; and fairer pay, promotions and appraisals.


The research also found that people want to own their work-related data and take it with them when they leave. That doesn’t mean employers need to give up their own rights, just that they must extend those rights to workers.

The research has identified the factors of workforce data practices that employees say most influence their level of trust in their employers. One of the key recommendations is to empower people with greater control of their own data: organizations must grant more control to individuals so they can manage and even own their data.


[1] Putting Trust to Work, Accenture, 2019