The benefits of data collection and sharing – particularly in monitoring employee health and safety – are many; however it is important to note that not all data is created equal. To fully utilize the power of data-driven and data-enabled technologies, it is essential for organizations to conduct due diligence during the research and adoption process, to educate their employees about the goal and benefits of data, and to build a culture of trust. When it comes to collecting and leveraging workforce and project data, it must be done jointly, securely, and ethically.  Here are some tips for accomplishing that:

Communicate the benefits and goals with your team at the very beginning

Per AIG’s research, across industries, roughly 75% of businesses and employees around the world are willing to have data on them collected and shared – if there is a clear benefit. This number was even higher for labor-intensive industries like construction where safety can be a matter of life or death.Across industries, individuals are also more willing to participate in data-collection and sharing when the goals, methods, and security of their data is clearly communicated from the get-go. When it comes to IoT-enabled devices, there is still a lot of myth, confusion and hesitation; by dispelling rumors, educating employees and answering any questions they may have, you will save yourself and your organization headaches down the line.

This is also why it’s particularly important to conduct your due diligence and select a solution that will hold up to scrutiny. GPS solutions, for example, that run on personal devices or impact an employee’s life outside of work are generally not the right solution and require more explicit employee consent and buy-in. What’s more, make sure to think through  who will have access to the data and how it will be stored. Employees want to know whether or not the data is collected from their personal device, if you can monitor their whereabouts outside of the office, and more simply, if data collection will drain their battery or add administrative burden and complexity to their daily jobs.

Have a plan for your Big Data

In today’s world, data is the new natural resource, and it’s not a matter of if organizations will embrace and utilize it, but when and how. Leading organizations recognize this, and are taking steps to implement or improve their data capture, storage and sharing practices. Don’t get caught flat-footed without a plan and rushing to catch up when it comes to data. Developing best practices now with input from different departments and evaluating your procedures at regular intervals will help position your organization for success.

Trust is paramount

As with other technologies and IoT-enabled devices, trust between employer and employee is vital. As technology changes every aspect of how we live and work, there will inevitably be varying concerns amongst employees who are more or less aware and comfortable with technology. Trial or pilot periods, or open office hours where concerns can be voiced and questions can be answered, will go a long way towards relieving employee fears. Transparency is essential to establishing and maintaining employee trust, and by being open and honest up front, you can save misinformation down the line.

With more and more devices and industries becoming connected, it’s essential to develop an integrated and comprehensive approach to data at your company. Keep in mind that your data is only as good as what is coming in, so bring in employees and different departments to ensure compliance and set your organization up for success. For data to be leveraged in the long-term, remember it has to be for everyone’s betterment and not just to make more money.