Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Meshing Human Resources processes with business complexity 5: due diligence and risk management evaluations 3

Posted in HR and personnel by Timothy Platt on January 8, 2014

This is my fifth installment to a series on the new and emerging workplace, and developing personnel policy and practices to better meet the needs of a 21st century business (see HR and Personnel, postings 190 and following for Parts 1-4.)

I began a discussion in Part 4 of how Human Resources and Information Technology would work together in coordinately developing and managing:

• Terms of employment (e.g. job sharing or telecommuting, et cetera) that employees can enter into, and
• The processes and resources that these employees would use in fulfilling those terms of employment when accessing, using and storing business information resources, and particularly where specific terms of employment raise potential new sources of risk for the business.

More specifically, I focused on this from the HR perspective in Part 4 and my goal for this posting is to more fully discuss this from the IT perspective. And I begin that by noting a point that I raised in Part 4 as a current state of the art-constrained working example, where:

• Information Technology determines as a matter of departmental policy that certain types of out-of-office work can only be carried out where employees who are performing it can connect into the business’ networks and computers through a virtual private network (VPN).

I would use this detail from that series installment here, as a starting point for a more general analysis of how Information Technology would work coordinately with Human Resources, and I add with other departments and services as well, in developing, implementing and performance evaluating ongoing information policy and its implementation – here focusing on the specific case in point of effective terms of employment that the business will support, and how.

• First of all, a technology implementation and use decision is made here with a specific type of employee and their specific terms of employment in mind: telecommuters or other off-site workers who have to securely connect into the business’ information systems with its server computers and networks.
• Some and even most of the policy in place, and how it is operationally implemented would be standard across the entire business. That might for example, mean explicit guidelines on use of flash drives or other portable data storage media or use of outside cloud storage resources, where any information stored in either would have to be encrypted according to specific standards and with specific approved software, and only business vetted and managed cloud storage would be allowed for housing certain categories of business-managed and owned information. The goal here would be to maintain consistent, easy to use and maintain systems that both support ongoing business needs, and at the same time address risk management concerns.
• Some of these decisions would be developed with specific terms of employment in mind. I have focused essentially entirely in this on off-site work, but note here that every terms of employment option: the more traditional of them included, can bring with it at least some task or circumstance-based grounds for having to carve out special exception rules as to what technology should be used and how, and what is operationally and procedurally permitted in using it. Flex-time employees who work at a business office, but at off hours might, for example be given specific guidelines and resources for coordinating their work with that of regular-hours teammates they are working with on specific tasks or projects, for sharing information when real time connectivity is not a realistic option. Intranet resources, and particularly Internet 2.0 resources with their interactivity can be crucial there (see for example, Connecting an organization together, version 2.0.) And I add here as a crucially important point that:
• Resources developed for addressing the specific needs of one group of employees (e.g. employees who work at a business according to one set of terms of employment) can be deployed for their use, but also as test cases and even as prototype tests for possible wider roll-out and even for business-wide use. Intranet resources that would help limit the impact of not always being able to real-time connect come to mind as a good working example here, as even when employees who need to closely coordinate their work are both at work during the same hours, their other work requirements and scheduling conflicts can create barriers to real-time connectivity and interaction for them too.

And with this I turn back to an area of discussion that I began delving into in Part 2 of this series: rethinking workplace requirements. I will address that in my next series installment. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at HR and Personnel.

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