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The problem with ethics in data

Steve Jobs once stated, “Technology is nothing.” It is crucial to have faith in individuals, as they are fundamentally ethical and intelligent, and if you provide them with the necessary resources, they will achieve remarkable feats.

This statement from the mind behind the Apple brand is somewhat unexpected; however, it appears to be more relevant today than it was in the 1990s.

We have become increasingly dependent on technology as it continues to develop. We are perpetually striving to automate the next issue in order to simplify our lives through the use of ever-more intricate technology as a species. However, what does this mean for our professional ethics or, more specifically, our morality in the workplace?

The issue of “data ethics” has become deeply ingrained in the field of human resources. In a recent paper published in Philosophical Transactions A, Luciano Floridi and Mariarosaria Taddeo called into doubt the definition of “data ethics” in a corporate context.

“While the data ethics landscape is complex, we are confident that these ethical challenges can be addressed successfully,” commented Floridi.

“The task of maintaining a strong equilibrium between the advancement of data science technology and the protection of human rights and privacy will not be straightforward or straightforward.” However, the alternative, which would be to neglect the advancement of both the ethics and the science of data, would result in regrettable repercussions.

It functions as both a rousing challenge for HR practitioners and a frightening reminder of the precise nature of the problems at hand. HR should assume the function of a gatekeeper to employee data, rather than a procurer. The current state of ethics in HR is vastly different from that of a decade ago, primarily due to the continuous proliferation of methods for collecting and analyzing staff data.

“The combination of data and HR is incredibly powerful,” stated Roberto Maranca, a prominent Chief Data Officer.

He explained to us how data is now at the forefront of CEOs and decision makers’ remits – specifically how to use the data to make the organization as a whole more agile.
Maranca informed us that it is imperative for HR practitioners and data professionals to collaborate. In the final analysis, HR leaders are the ones who will communicate the benefits of data acquisition to employees, as well as alleviate their concerns regarding privacy and management surveillance.

Therefore, how can HR ensure that their new data systems are well-received?

Conduct research

HR should consult with both their management teams and their employees during the implementation of new technology. It is inevitable that a backlash will ensue when an organization is abruptly introduced to a new technology without any explanation of its purpose or how to operate it.

Conduct a demonstration

Be completely transparent and demonstrate to your staff the precise manner in which you intend to utilize your new data system once you have made a decision. Please refrain from allowing this to descend into an Orwellian horror, in which employees believe that their every action is being monitored, analyzed, and subsequently confronted. Demonstrate the data you will be accumulating, the method by which you will be utilizing it, and allay any concerns that the analytics will result in terminations or confrontations.

Request feedback

The acquisition of the new technology is only one aspect of the conflict. Avoid the error of assuming that you have effectively implemented a new data system and then allowing the employee base to develop. In three months, return to management and solicit their input on the new procedures. Additionally, make a concerted effort to guarantee that your employees are content. Otherwise, a mass strike may be the unanticipated consequence of an incorrectly implemented data system.