- Surges of data await business leaders in the decade ahead, according to a report from Forrester. Leaders currently "don't have a clue" how to manage employee data in a way that lowers risk of data misuse or yields valuable insights.
- The data sets companies sit on include government identification numbers, dates of birth, payroll/bank information and background verification information. The analyst firm expects the impact of regulatory initiatives such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation to increase.
- The data surge is one of four seismic shifts Forrester envisions impacting businesses in the decade ahead: systemic risks with global scope, such as the novel coronavirus pandemic; the impact of automation; and an uptick in employee power bolstered by social media.
With more IT plugged into human resource processes, data can fuel promising technologies such as machine learning or artificial intelligence.
For some companies, AI-infused technologies already help carry out employee sentiment analysis, or identify communication and social-technical networks within an organization. Others, such as IT consulting firm Infosys, leverage AI to evaluate employee's profiles and guide their workforce development roadmap.
But managing and safely storing employee data brings challenges along, especially in the context of growing oversight, even though regulation like GDPR focus more sharply on consumer data.
"Beyond data security and protection standards, numerous government and industry regulations like GDPR bind workforce data," Forrester writes. "These complex regulations will increase, making it more difficult to determine what employee and workforce information you can collect and how you can use it."
The effect of the pandemic brings additional challenges from a data protection standpoint. One-quarter of CFOs expect layoffs as a result of the pandemic and its economic impacts, which opens up an avenue for data extraction as employees leave the company.
Departing employees pose a key insider threat to organizations. Around 63% of employees bring data from previous employers when joining a new organization, citing a feeling of "personal ownership" over work data. Six in 10 security leaders say either themselves or a colleague have intercepted employee-sourced data which had risk or legal implications.