Privacy and data security were the big talking points in 2018 when the GDPR came into force, but there was always a danger that when the buzz died down, so too would companies’ interest in this area. Fortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case for HR.

psychology relationship building meeting security

Recent survey results by Cezanne HR show that almost 70% of people trust their HR team with privacy and confidentiality.

The Psychology of HR Relationship Building: Trust, visibility, and respect

Cezanne HR’s new whitepaper includes a survey of 1,000 people from the UK and Ireland.

When asked: ‘Do you trust your HR team to respect your privacy and confidentiality?’:

  • 69% of people said yes
  • 15% said no
  • 16% said they didn’t know.

trust hr privacy survey

Given that the nature of HR’s role means they deal with a lot of personal data, it’s very important for HR that employees trust them with this. While it’s good to see that so many people said yes to the above, there’s still room for improvement – all up, 31% of survey respondents seem to have lost faith in their HR team to be discrete about privacy and confidentiality (those who said no or that they didn’t know).

HR data and its different avenues

From the data basics, like keeping personal and contact details secure, to managing information associated with complex HR processes like disciplinary matters and redundancies, HR needs to be on top of it all.

HR professionals should also be mindful of the different ways that data comes to them.

For example, it’s easy to recognise that a person’s bank details must be kept secure. But what about that casual conversation between HR and a line manager over a drink at the pub? The one where an employee’s performance was mentioned… HR needs to keep this confidential, too, and they should be trained to understand the different ways that data might come to them.

How an HR system helps protect data

Putting to one side the rare occasions when an HR professional deliberately causes a data breach – it can happen, and business leaders no doubt know they need to do all they can to protect against this – for most organisations, it’s probably the inadvertent slip ups that are more likely. One way to protect against these situations is to have a good HR system, like Cezanne HR, that holds all HR data securely, and in one easily accessible place.

Contact detail updates won’t get lost in email exchanges because they are made directly in HR systems; performance review conversations are documented and kept confidential; time management is accurate and stored securely; the list goes on!

Protecting data far and wide

When employees use a good HR system day in/day out, their confidence in how their personal information is handled will increase. Modular systems like Cezanne HR also give organisations the opportunity to expand the reach of their HR software, so more and more HR-related processes and information can be brought into a secure Cloud-based ‘vault’.

Giving HR the tech tools they need to keep mum on privacy and confidentiality will go a long way in improving any deficits in trust that the workforce has for HR in this area. Then it’s up to HR and business leaders to make sure their behaviours and procedures align with a secure approach to data, so employees aren’t left feeling exposed and vulnerable to privacy breaches.

Shandel McAuliffe author image

Shandel McAuliffe

Now based in sunny Australia, Shandel is prolific writer and editor - particularly in the world of HR. She's worked for some big names, including the CIPD and the Adecco Group. And more recently, she's been the Editor for new HR publication HR Leader.