Privacy Issues

Apr 1, 2011
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When an organization creates talent profiles, HR professionals need to be aware of legal requirements, data security and employees’ concerns about privacy. Not everyone wants their life story exposed to colleagues.

Employees voice “concerns around data privacy within profiles—what data is captured, where it is embedded and who has access,” says consultant Jason Corsello of Knowledge Infusion. “Profiles that are not managed correctly and not provisioned correctly can be very dangerous.”

HR professionals take different approaches to sharing the data with employees. For example, at New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., only senior executives see how employees score in assessments.

“It takes a lot of talented people to run this organization,” reflects Joan McGrail, New Balance’s HR manager. “We may have a lot of people in the organization who are really good at what they do but who may not be a high-potential. Our intention is not to alienate those folks by calling out others who are high-potential.”

At Hoover’s, on the other hand, all employees can see the full talent profiles—which caused some people to push back, says Robin Hamel Pfahler, the company’s human resources leader. One reluctant employee who had worked at Enron, for example, was told that she could edit her profile to indicate that she had worked for a Fortune 500 energy company and to describe her duties.

“Getting people to understand the purpose of the tool was the big challenge,” Pfahler says. “Once they understood the purpose—that it was there to help them develop and grow—they were willing to use it.”

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SHRM Article: Sizing Up Talent
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