The Case of the Data Fearing Grandma

Car Trouble 210Working out of my home office one day waiting on a client, I looked out the door and saw an elderly woman walking up the driveway and saw her car was in the street partially blocking access to the driveway. Walking out to meet her and to see what she wanted, she stated that her car had broken down and needed assistance. I asked, “Who can you call?” She replied, “I don’t have a phone.” I immediately began looking behind trees to see who might be backing up this woman and her scam claiming she had no phone.  As it turns out, this poor woman didn’t have an auto club membership, had no phone, had no credit card, and had no debit card. The reason? She was trying to protect her privacy!! Has managing our personal data come down to choosing between privacy and personal safety?

We Need Data

Obviously, it would make a world of difference in this woman’s life if she was willing to share her data to have the assistance she needs when it matters! All of us need to supply our data to someone or some entity to benefit from some service or product.

Organizations need employee data for better understanding employee interactions, to improve collaboration, enhancing employee engagement, for better hiring, development, and retention. CEOs, executives, and every management level needs data on talent, the talent they have and the talent they will need going forward to meet the demands of their strategic plans. Data is important for business success.

Using Data Correctly

Collecting data and putting it on a shelf is not how to use data effectively. As an example, if you use assessments in the hiring process, you can then compile the data from an entire department to see if there is a diversity of behavioral and communication styles. If there is a lack of this type of diversity, then the manager may be hiring people like themselves known as the Halo effect.  This can stifle innovation and good decision making.

Think about having behavioral profiles for teams. You will have the ability to pull data from assessments or other profiling tools to see if the team will work well together. If there are behavioral styles that might initially clash, then coaching can be put in place before conflict develops. Plus, you can analyze the team report data and see what talent you may have missing that could be essential for a successful project.

Of course, data for developmental purposes is a given. How can you help employees grow, build your bench, and create a better culture for your organization without employee data? Here are a few other uses for data:

  • Understanding employees better
  • Assists in reward and recognition programs
  • Helps organizations to be more human focus (after all, who sells and buys your services and products?)
  • Boost productivity
  • Improve continuous employee development
  • Better employee engagement
  • Analyzing team dynamics
  • Reduce conflict
  • Enhance communication

Data Ethics

Think back to the lady who came to my door. What if she were your mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, close friend, or neighbor? Would you want her in harm’s way? This is the result of the unethical use of data. Before you begin collecting employee data, hold meetings and explain why you are collecting data, how that data will be useful, and the measures you will take to protect that data. Transparency in the use of employee data is key to its successful collection and use. There is no other way. Period.

P.S. I brought this poor woman in my office and got her a wrecker. And she thinks she may throw caution to the wind and get a debit card.

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Graphic Credit:

Employee Development, DATA