BYOD goes far beyond IT questions.
Most often we view BYOD policies as something initiated and overseen by IT. But that misses the broad-ranging impact of BYOD across several other functions in an organization, particularly the human resource function. A quickly or poorly developed BYOD policy can create legal liabilities under federal and state laws, but it also involves human resources issues that affect employee satisfaction, trust, recruitment and retention.
Today, let’s look at the privacy issue. Extreme dissatisfaction with privacy policies could damage employee satisfaction and the trust necessary to maintain a positive employer-employee relationship. Extreme dissatisfaction could lead to retention issues, which is a major human resource management concern.
With BYOD, employers have sincere concerns about the privacy of their data contained on devices over which they do not have complete control. To what extent can they monitor and have complete access to the device in order to update software and secure their own data? From the employee perspective, the biggest concern about BYOD is the privacy of their personal data. Employees fear company access to video, health records, photos, private emails and text, and other data. What about GPS tracking? Can the employer track employee whereabouts? These aren’t just IT logistics questions. They get at the root of the employer-employee relationship.
These are issues too complex to answer here, but it is important to raise them so that you can adopt BYOD with “eyes wide open.” Design HR policies that ensure you are not in violation of either FLSA and state reimbursement policies. And while the law may be less clear regarding privacy policies and company monitoring of BYOD devices, it should be recognized that ill-defined policies or ones that are perceived to be excessively invasive of employee privacy could create serious human resource issues, particularly in the areas of employee satisfaction, recruitment and retention.