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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

People Analytics Impacts Employees, Requires Attention to Privacy

New forms of technology-driven data collection and assessment are having a significant impact upon employees, as evidenced by four separate reports in September on the use of people analytics in the workplace.  In the first, an article in the Harvard Business Review describes how the tracking of customers in retail settings is having a largely unintended but significant spill-over effect upon employees, affecting their day-to-day experiences, their job security and their financial well-being. The second features an employer service start-up called Joberate, which gathers and consolidates publicly-available information from social media accounts to develop what it calls a “J-Score” that estimates the level of job-seeking activity of employees. The third describes a new generation of ID badges from a firm called Humanyze that contain microphones and sensors with motion detectors that trigger beacons throughout an office, enabling tracking and monitoring of the physical, interpersonal and emotional characteristics of employees.  The fourth reports on a Helsinki company, Futurice, that integrates wi-fi beacon triangulation, motion sensors, air-quality sensors and cameras into an Android app that displays the location of staff, the availability of unused work spaces, the occupancy of toilets and other facets of the office of the future.  A positive aspect of all four reports is what seems to be a growing awareness in disparate quarters that innovations such as these can only succeed if privacy concerns of employees are met, for example by providing only aggregate data to employers and by allowing employees to choose whether to participate in monitoring. 

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