“You stole my idea! Really, which one? The new appraisal program one, Ok. Prove it.”
Now there goes your chance to get back at that annoying pest of a colleague who passed on your idea as his own to the boss. He not only ate up on your promotion but also made you look down upon yourself. However, you cannot prove what he did. So all you do is sulk around all day. Take an advice – be careful and confidential at workplace. Confidentiality is of paramount importance on a workplace. Mystique from “X-Men” used harmless employee information like eye-color; fingerprints etc and turned it into lethal weapons by using it to gain access to any confidential documents and files she wanted. Nobody is suggesting that Mystique is or could be after you, the whole idea is to drive home the importance of workplace confidentiality both from your HR department’s as well as your perspective. Read on to know how to maintain confidentiality at the workplace.
Importance Of Confidentiality In Workplace
Confidentiality is important for a lot of varied reasons. The data pertaining to recruitment, compensation, and management of employees is naturally sensitive. In the wrong hands, this information could be misused to commit fraud, discrimination, and other violations. Some of the important reasons for maintaining confidentiality are as:
To maintain a general degree of professionalism, it is important that your personal details remain personal. Disclose your personal details to only a few people and that too with discretion. Getting over-friendly with colleagues is a major cause of office issues.
Personal details like annual income, marital status, and remuneration, if revealed, can be misused to cause trouble to you or your organisation.
You may have access to sensitive information of the organisation and some of your personal details, like date of birth, could be your access code. In this case, maintaining confidentiality becomes important for the security of the information that is at your disposal.
Maintaining Confidentiality At Workplace
Employees should exercise discretion while interacting with their fellow colleagues. Personal disclosures should be made thoughtfully and any work-related information must not be shared at all or shared very carefully, if required.
Employee must refrain from sharing information that the organisation considers sensitive. They must maintain a professional attitude at all times.
The HR department must take steps and devise such policies and procedures that ensure complete workplace confidentiality. The policies should cover their work as well, i.e. protection of personnel and benefit records.
Only devising such policies is not enough. They must also be communicated to all the employees, supervisors and managers. Employee confidentiality training through handouts, seminars, and workshops, etc is also a good way of ensuring confidentiality in the long run.
It is important to make employees aware of the specific actions, which comprise breach of confidentiality. They must also be educated about the consequences of the same, to deter them from doing so.
Considering the growing use of electronic method to save information, the organisation must initiate efforts to foolproof their data using advanced or sophisticated electronic methods such as firewalls, password protection, encryption, etc. This will keep access, usage, and transmission of the protected data, safe.
There must be strict laws regarding disposal of sensitive information. Any information, once redundant must be disposed off in an appropriate manner. It may not serve any purpose to the organisation anymore but that doesn’t make it less sensitive. The HR or the organisation must erase these records in such a way that there are no potential leaks.