GetApp Finds Businesses Collected More Employee Data in Past Year But Lack Transparency With Workers
Forty-eight percent of business leaders say they’ve increased employee data collection in the past 12 months, according to GetApp, a recommendation engine that helps SMBs make informed software purchasing decisions. Findings from GetApp’s new Employee Data Survey delves into information that employers are collecting and the level of transparency among employees about how their data is being used.
“Businesses should outline employee rights to data minimization, purpose, fairness, and awareness so that employees are treated as data partners, rather than targets.”
Survey findings indicate a disconnect between managers and staff related to the use of employee data collection. For example, 72% of business leaders believe employee data should be used for whatever purpose the company sees fit—only 47% of employees feel the same way. And, only 22% of the employees surveyed strongly agree that their company clearly explains how their personal data is used.
“Trust and transparency is key in employee data collection,” said Zach Capers, senior analyst at GetApp. “Businesses should outline employee rights to data minimization, purpose, fairness, and awareness so that employees are treated as data partners, rather than targets.”
The collection of employee medical data has come into the spotlight during the pandemic. In the survey, 87% of business leaders say their company is collecting pandemic-related medical data, including COVID-19 vaccine status (confirmed by 70% of business leaders), COVID-19 test results (59%), and temperature checks (57%). However, only 25% of employees strongly agree that they are comfortable providing personal medical information to their company.
A growing focus of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace has also led businesses to gather prospective and existing employee data on sexual orientation, disability status, and racial or ethnic identification. Two-thirds (67%) of business leaders say they’ve asked for personal information to support a DEI program in the last 12 months.
Employee data collection can yield helpful insights, whether it be used to keep workers safe in a pandemic or to promote DEI, but should be handled responsibly.
GetApp’s Employee Data Survey was conducted in September 2021 among 601 respondents to learn more about employee data collection at U.S. businesses. Respondents were screened for full-time employment at companies with two or more employees. 301 respondents identified as management level or above and 300 identified as staff or senior staff.