3 ways HR can increase employee data privacy awareness
Robin Sendrow

By: Robin Sendrow on February 6th, 2020

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3 ways HR can increase employee data privacy awareness

Compliance and Security

Est. Read Time: 3 min.

Last week, organizations around the world celebrated Data Privacy Day, an annual event with the goal of increasing data protection awareness. But, what can HR do to increase awareness after Data Privacy Day is over? After all, protecting personal employee data isn’t just a one-day project. Here are three things HR teams can do now to put privacy first every day:


Take a seasonal approach to data privacy awareness

Keep the Data Privacy Day momentum going by planning privacy initiatives when they would be the most helpful.  Consider when important personal information may be handled on a seasonal basis. For example, you can lead a session on how to protect email from being phished before annual bonuses are processed by payroll.  Or, you can schedule a data protection refresh for accounting teams, just before tax filing season. 


It can also be helpful to think about key company events. For example, a good time to share tips on protecting employee health information is before launching an annual employee wellness initiative.


In addition to planning events seasonally, consider how someone who changes roles within the company may need different types of training. For example, have you considered sharing guidance with employees who are promoted to managerial roles?


Related video: Balancing Global Employee File Management and HR Data Security at CSL Behring.


Keep up-to-date on the latest privacy laws

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is setting the new standard of data protection in the USA, and some states are creating privacy bills based off of CCPA requirements. In California, most employee records are exempt from CCPA requirements until 2021. To learn more about how the CCPA may impact your employee data, check out this whitepaper.

It’s unclear whether other states in the USA will include employee data in new privacy-related regulations. Some states, such as Washington and Illinois, specifically exempt employment-related data from draft consumer data protection requirements.


If you're a PeopleDoc customer with a global employee base, note that we offer HR Compliance Assist, which has a data privacy knowledgebase, designed to keep HR informed of changing privacy regulations. 


Button to download a practical guide to proactive hr compliance


Partner with other teams to find “hidden” employee data

It’s hard to protect employee information without carefully managing who has access to employee records. While HR and Payroll usually hold the majority of employee data, there are instances where others can access certain private information. For example, members of IT may be given access to employee data to troubleshoot a new time tracking system. 


The best way to discover these hidden sources of employee data is to connect with teams across the organization. By engaging with other teams, you can share data protection best practices and find out what personal employee data that team is collecting. 


After meeting with other departments, you should have a better idea of who has access to employee data and how they use this personal information. Then, it’s time to start process mapping to track what you have discovered. 


Help employees prioritize data protection by using these tips to keep the focus on data privacy all year long.

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About Robin Sendrow

Robin is the HR Compliance Assist Manager at PeopleDoc. She joined the team to help customers remain in compliance globally and easily navigate foreign rules and regulations through HR Compliance Assist. Previously, Robin managed client HR communications and provided outsourced HR support. She has a Masters in Psychological Counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University.