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Lucie Mitchell

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more about Lucie Mitchell

Third of workers happy for employer to use their social media data


Almost a third of employees would allow their employers to access their personal data, such as social media profiles, to help measure productivity and engagement, according to new research.

This type of data profiling, already used by retailers and advertisers to understand consumer behaviour, could soon become common in the workplace, PwC’s Future of Work report found.

Employers would use this data to understand what motivates their workforce, why people might move jobs and how to improve employee wellbeing.

According to the report, Generation Y will form half of the global workforce by 2020, and are more open to sharing their personal data, meaning that this kind of data monitoring could rise significantly over the next decade.

Anthony Bruce, HR workforce analytics leader at PwC, said that this sort of data profiling could also enable real-time monitoring of employees’ health, including guidance to help reduce sick leave.

“Key to the success of organisations being able to use employee data will be developing measurable benefits for those who hand over their data and building trust through clear rules about how data is acquired, used and shared,” he said.

“HR teams are already gearing up for these changes and are increasingly using data analytics to spot retention and performance issues. The main challenge for organisations will be convincing employees that the price of handing over their data and monitoring is one worth paying.”

Further findings revealed that technology will have the biggest impact on the workplace over the next five to 10 years, according to both workers and HR professionals. A quarter of HR professionals questioned for the report said they were already prepared for this, while 58% said they are in the process of it.

The report also found that 64% of workers believe that technology will improve their job prospects, although a quarter had concerns that automation may put their job at risk.

In addition, 59% of employees were prepared to be contactable via technology at all times, in return for secure employment – with this rising to 64% of Gen Y workers.

“Managers need to develop a clear culture where technology works for everyone,” added Bruce.

“This isn’t about having a blanket ban on when systems should be turned off, it is about creating the right culture so people can use technology to enhance their lives but also have control about when they choose to do so.”

The report was based on a survey of 10,000 global workers, including 2,000 in the UK, as well as 500 HR professionals across the world.

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Lucie Mitchell

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Lucie Mitchell

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