Useful Employee Personal Information

Shawnee Love   •  
October 28, 2011

This week, we continue talking about employee personal information. When it comes to collecting an employee’s personal information, the first thing you need to know is what is considered personal information. Personal information typically refers to information about an identifiable individual but does not include contact information or work product information.  As such, the following aren’t considered personal information:

  • Job titles,
  • Business phone numbers (including cell numbers),
  • Office addresses,
  • Department
  • Projects

However, these examples are typically considered employee personal information:

  • Employee home address and phone number (if the person is unlisted)
  • SIN
  • Birth date
  • Hire date
  • Wage rate
  • Career progression
  • Training & development
  • Performance reviews & ratings

Address and numbers are needed to stay in contact with employees. A SIN is needed for tax purposes. Birth  dates and hire dates are used to establish benefit eligibility. Wage rates are needed to pay people correctly.  Career progression and training and development information enables companies to look for high potential employees and support succession planning activities and individual growth programs for those people.  Performance reviews and ratings are used as the basis for recognition, to model compensation increases, to assess the fairness of pay packages, and to assess employee for future promote-ability.

We know that learning, development and career progression opportunities are key to keeping and motivating employees, and collecting information about individuals that can contribute to sound decisions about who to train, groom and promote makes good business sense. We think nothing of collecting historical data and reviewing trends for our favourite stocks, and the same theory applies with your organizational assets affectionately known as people.

When determining what information you need to collect about your people, don’t forget about the big picture.  E.g., it might be important to track more demographic information including gender, languages, ethnicity, etc. to ensure your workforce is diverse or is progressing in the right direction.

If you want to know how to determine what information you need to collect, think of all the things you want to do with and for your employees and work backwards to see what data you need to collect to accomplish those goals. It is way easier to collect data from the beginning than to go back and fill in the blanks.  Saying that, privacy laws say you shouldn’t collect it unless you need it, so it pays to be sure.

What info do you track about your people?