Target. Equifax. Whole Foods. By now, it should come as no surprise that the private data of Americans is at great risk. But, what you might not know, is up to 50% of identity theft originates at an employee’s place of business. As a result of greed, malice or just plain carelessness, around half of victims had their identities stolen when they were simply trying to do their job. While a company’s first reaction might be to beef up their IT department and issue new security protocols – and they should – this fails to address the entire issue. To be certain your employees’ personal data is as secure as possible, you must also boost employee engagement.

A Trove of Data

Why do businesses make such great targets? In short, it’s because they possess a treasure trove of personal data on each employee. In addition to requirements placed on them by local and federal governments, such as maintaining accurate addresses, social security numbers, and the like, many businesses have additional requirements – like running credit reports, background searches, and more.

Many times, companies will require their HR departments to keep these documents on file indefinitely. While this was once in the form of hardcopy files -- which can also pose a major threat – this data is increasingly being stored digitally on networks and/or in the cloud. Making matters worse, these documents are rarely protected as they should be and many employees and department heads can pull this information even when they are off-site.

The Problem

70% of employees are disengaged and over half of them are actively looking for a new job or are keeping their eyes out for a particular opening. This poses major threats for businesses. When employees are disengaged, they are many times more likely to steal from your company. These employees alone cost American businesses as much as $60 billion a year.

When people think of employee theft, they often imagine an employee taking a few bucks out of cash register or stealing products from a retail store. But, employee theft doesn’t just occur through these traditional means – they can also steal company and personnel data. Did you know a 2016 study found that more than 25% of U.S. office workers would sell their passwords, many of whom admitted they would do so for less than $100? When you factor in that many employees tend to have access to HR records, it should come as no surprise that this can spell big problems for your company.

Naturally, not all cases involve employees stealing personnel data for their own gain. In many cases, records are exposed out of sheer carelessness. Of course, this is also the byproduct of a disengaged workforce. You need look no further than Gallup’s Annual State of the American Workplace to determine engaged employees are more focused and less prone to careless mistakes. 

Although we often quote statistics about reduced injuries (70% fewer with an engaged workforce) and increased productivity (up to 21% higher), when companies have a highly-engaged workforce, these positive trends also continue over to increased cybersecurity and reduced mistakes.

What Can You Do to Help Protect Private Data?

In addition to having proper security protocols in place, you need to make sure your entire team is fully engaged. To get started with this process, you may want to check out our blog, 5 Tips to Create a Culture of Appreciation in the Workplace. If you’re looking for something a little more in depth, download our FREE eBook, 35 Ways to Influence Corporate Culture and Increase Your Bottom Line. And if you’re serious about engaging every member of your organization now, or if you just have some questions you need help with, please reach out. We have over 80 years of experience in the employee engagement and recognition industry, and we’d love to show you what C.A. Short Company can do for your organization.

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   At C.A. Short Company, we are your partner for increased employee engagement resulting in increased performance outcomes to grow your bottom line. Our process and research-based platform help you engage your team in order to increase your bottom line, motivate your staff to the benefit of the entire organization, and reward your people for the positive changes they make. To request a Complimentary Consultation, please click here.   

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