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HR managers in multinationals: How to manage data privacy globally

By Francisco José de Juan, People Analytics Lead
How to manage data privacy

Access management, roles and reading permissions for sensitive information: The responsibility of HR to maintain the privacy and confidentiality of information in multinationals.

Managing employee data in global organisations is an increasingly complex and critical task, especially when it comes to providing access to databases containing sensitive information to teams in other countries. 

For example, when launching a digital transformation project, where all employee information is stored on one platform, Recruitment, Personnel (Employee Central) and Learning and Development teams all join forces. Therefore, the ability to ensure data security and privacy is essential.

Human capital management (HCM) converts the conventional administrative functions of Human Resources departments from analogue tasks to digital processes and provides immediate access to different types of information across the company. 

This not only offers significant advantages, but there are also big responsibilities. The impact on HR Analytics is enormous, as there is the risk of leaving information exposed involuntarily that in other sections might not be as vulnerable.

In this context, the configuration of a structured system of roles and permissions is an essential element to guarantee security, integrity and efficiency when managing HR processes and tasks. Therefore, we will focus on the importance and added value of efficiently controlling real-time access to employee information within a global HCM platform.

Importance of a structured system of roles and permissions

A structured system of roles and permissions in employee data management is important for several reasons:

1. Data Security

It is vital that the security of employee information, including personal and confidential data, is airtight. One way to ensure the confidentiality of employee data is by implementing an HR HCM platform. This allows the creation and assignment of specific roles, such as 'HR Manager' and 'Team Supervisor,' to limit who can access compensation data and performance reviews. 

Similarly, you can control what filtered information is shown to different roles when they try to extract HR metrics through reports. This would significantly reduce the risk of information leakage.

A well-designed system of roles and permissions ensures that only those with correct authorisation can access sensitive data, whether they are accessing individual employee files or department-wide compensation data.

2. Regulatory Compliance

In a global business environment, it is crucial to comply with data privacy regulations, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). A system of roles and permissions helps control and audit data access, facilitating regulatory compliance.

By implementing an HCM solution, companies can configure specific roles to meet GDPR requirements in each location, allowing them to operate efficiently and legally throughout the European Union. 

It goes without saying that, if the structure of reports and data sources are homogeneous, coordination between international HR teams is much easier.

3. Operational Efficiency

With appropriate roles and permissions, Human Resources workflows can be optimised. Each team member gets access only to the information they need, streamlining hiring, performance management, compensation and career development processes. 

In addition, each member knows and understands the channels through which to request access to a role or permission—an administrative process that, in many companies, is unnecessarily complex.

These platforms make it easier for organisations to create efficient access and exit protocols for team members whose function is to manage their global workforce. HR managers can quickly access employee records in their respective regions, which also leads to reduced response time in making key decisions.

Advantages of implementing an HCM platform in Role and Permission Management

Implementing an innovative HCM that integrates a robust HR Analytics system offers many advantages in terms of roles and permissions:

1. Role Customisation

A platform that allows you to create specific roles for each user, adapted to their functions and responsibilities, guarantees that each employee has access only to the information relevant to their work, reducing security risks and improving productivity.

This makes it easier for an organisation to customise the roles of its plant managers, ensuring that they can only see information about employees in their respective production plants. This allows companies to maintain a high level of security and efficiency in their operations.

2. Global Permission Control

The platform offers detailed permission control. This means you can define not only who can view, but who can edit or delete information in different areas of Human Resources in real time. 

This is especially useful when working with international teams requiring different levels of access. It offers tremendous benefits for companies with a global footprint who need to set up specific permissions for each country, allowing them to comply with local regulations and ensure the privacy of their employees' data around the world.

3. Auditing and Monitoring

As previously mentioned, an HCM system facilitates the auditing and monitoring of user activities, allowing for traceability of who accessed the information and what, if any, changes were made to the records. 

This not only provides increased transparency but also facilitates regulatory compliance and early detection of security problems. 

4. International Collaboration

For multinationals with teams distributed in different countries, coordination is essential. As such, managing an HCM and HR Analytics system must be simple and efficient. Having an easily configurable system of roles and permissions simplifies the management of access to sensitive data in a global environment.

It allows companies to collaborate efficiently, complying with each country’s specific regulations while maintaining data integrity and regulating access.

5. Simplified Updates and Maintenance

Having a platform that it is regularly updated to comply with the latest regulations and best practices in data security frees organisations from the burden of maintaining internal systems and ensures they are always compliant. 

This means companies can keep up with changes in data privacy regulations around the world without requiring significant investment in in-house software development.

Driven by expansion and innovation, both the global business landscape and the technology that drives it continue to rapidly change. It is important that the large quantities of data–much of it personal and/or sensitive–flowing across multinational organisations can be managed not just quickly and efficiently but safely and securely. 

Global companies wanting to be compliant and competitive in the current landscape need to consider implementing HR solutions that offer structured systems of roles and permissions via HCM platforms to ensure that their employee data remains manageable, controllable, and secure.

Francisco José De Juan
Francisco José De Juan
By Francisco José De Juan

Francisco José De Juan is currently People Analytics Lead at Alight, responsible for advising our clients and configuring and implementing visual Reports & Dashboards based on HR Analytics & IAS/IPS. He has extensive experience in the digital Human Resources sector, having worked with different international teams from a very young age. Before joining Alight, Francisco developed his career from end client as international HRBP. His academic background includes Maastricht University, Utrecht and ESIC.

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