GDPR Impacts Every Employer Especially Those Who Hire Humans

Europe has always had stricter standards when it comes to online privacy. In 2012, European courts upheld the Right to Be Forgotten which allows individuals to erase their online history in certain circumstances. In 2014, an EU court decided that Google must comply with requests to remove some search results, in a decision that became known as “the right to be forgotten.” As part of that decision, European users can submit a request to Google, asking the company to delist results that are “no longer relevant” or otherwise outdated. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) just builds upon that.

GDPR Impacts Every Employer Especially Those Who Hire Humans

Related: GDPR Basics: What Recruiters & Global Companies Can Expect Hiring in the EU

Under the GDPR, candidates will have the “right to be forgotten or right to erasure,” meaning that candidates can request for their data to be erased when it is no longer necessary for the original purpose. This is the future where we are heading, a place where GDPR is a global program designed to protect consumers, candidates, and our data from the prying eyes of anyone and everyone who is selling it for a buck instead of thinking about people and humanity.

HR departments will play a crucial role in ensuring that employee data is processed lawfully, and appropriate information is given to employees about the use of their data. The GDPR will require a significant shift in how companies deal with this aspect of data protection compliance. In particular, it will require a move away from relying on employment contracts towards comprehensive privacy notices.

Related: How GDPR Impacts Global Recruiting Teams

It’s important to note that the GDPR isn’t just about companies who hire in the EU. In the short term, it’s about employers who are employing EU citizens wherever they may live. Recruiters are going to need to build candidate engagement, sourcing and recruiting programs that focus on building relationships.

Putting the Human Back into Human Resources

Because short-term recruiting programs, or what I refer to as “reactive recruiting,” will come at a price in part due to these regulations, companies must focus on building candidate relationships and providing value for the long term. This change won’t happen for everyone tomorrow or even after the May 25th deadline, however, the value of building relationships, sharing information, and providing resources will be more important than ever in order to engage and recruit candidates.

Those who take a proactive approach and put plans into place now will inevitably find themselves better equipped for the GDPR, but it’s also an opportunity to revamp current practices and candidate outreach.

HR is saddled with a lot of compliance responsibilities, many of which are not of its own making. It can be process-driven and this might be a great time to consider splitting the department into two areas: compliance (the processes) and HR (the human side), or clearly defining when to use technology, and when to put people back into the mix. With the right balance, HR teams can be more productive, more engaged, and use the human element to attract and retain top talent.

Are You Hiring Humans?

It’s timely to note that at the heart of the fear of being replaced by robots is the feeling of being less than human, when you’re a number or a line item for your employer, or “human capital,” rather than being treated like a human being. Humans don’t want to be data; at the least, they want more control over how their data is used. A phone call or personalized email can mean the difference between considering a role at your company or moving on for a candidate.

The solution isn’t more technology; it’s better technology. Your tech should support not only compliance with new regulations but also the human side of recruiting. Tools like machine learning, natural language processing, personalized recommendations, and other AI-enabled technology that bring hyper-personalization and a human-to-computer interaction model should enhance the candidate and employee experience. Unless your recruiting strategy is focused on hiring and employing robots, engagement is here to stay. However, the robot revolution is inching closer…especially since a robot in Saudi Arabia was the first to be granted citizenship last year.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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