6 Reasons Why You Should Be Talking About Employee Privacy Policies

Posted by Kevin D'Arcy on Jul 10, 2014 8:36:00 AM

Employee PrivacyParticularly now when data security is such a salient issue, privacy has become a huge concern for businesses of all types, from small operations to large enterprise organizations. Consumers need to be able to trust businesses with their private information, and if that trust isn’t established – or even worse, if it’s breached – people will take their business elsewhere.

The value of consumer privacy, then, is very well understood. But have you ever considered employee privacy? It is equally as important to the well-being of an organization as is consumer privacy, and having an employee privacy policy in place is an important way to guide the infrastructure of privacy throughout your organization. Here are 6 reasons why you should be talking about employee privacy policies if it’s not on your radar.

  1. It’s good for business. When you take privacy seriously among your employees, it expands to other aspects of your organization. The emphasis on privacy doesn’t stay exclusive to your employees; it also extends to your customers and helps establish an atmosphere of trust among employees and consumers alike.

  2. It may be legally required. Under the law, employees have certain privacy rights that employers must not violate. For the federally-regulated sector, these rights are legislated under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Several provinces also have their own privacy legislation that applies to employee information. Furthermore, many employers have a commitment in collective agreements to observe certain privacy practices. Compliance to these rules and regulations are a must where such practices are required by law.

  3. It’s good for employee morale. Good employee privacy policies help alleviate concerns about privacy of information and allow employees to perform their jobs without fear of misuse of their information. Naturally, there is a concern about how exactly their information is being used; a privacy policy serves to keep data sharing processes transparent and put minds at ease.

  4. It’s good for security. Employee record management systems are part and parcel of an effective employee privacy policy. By securing information adequately through a system, you can ensure that information is only seen and accessed by those who need it to do their jobs. Access restrictions help to protect information and boost security.

  5. It helps you obtain and store more information efficiently. A good employee privacy policy sets the standard for what type of information you need to collect in order to function as an organization. In your policy, you can outline what you need to collect about employees, customers and business operations in order to improve processes and meet legal and regulatory requirements.

  6. It helps set processes. One key advantage of an employee privacy policy is that it can help your organization set and define processes for information collection and sharing. This allows employees to better understand how their information is used, how they can access information about themselves, and also promotes openness. 

Avoiding grievances, complaints and even lawsuits is an important function of employee privacy policies, but it is not the only one. A good policy helps foster a workplace culture where privacy is respected. Not only does this contribute to morale and trust, but it also helps values of privacy extend to other data – notably, customer information – which is ultimately good for business.

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