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What can we Learn from Morrisons’ Mistakes?

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As the old adage goes, you should learn from your mistakes. The logic is pretty tight but the downside is you need to make the mistake in the first place. And that can be costly: just ask the UK’s fourth biggest supermarket chain, Morrisons.

So, with that in mind, perhaps learning from someone else’s mistakes would be a better approach.

Recently, the Bradford-based grocer hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons when a disgruntled employee dumped employee payroll data online. IT auditor Andrew Skelton uploaded personal details of 100,000 employees, who are now bringing a class action lawsuit against the company.

As well as the huge sums of money at stake, the company has also tarnished its relationship with existing employees and damaged its reputation amongst shoppers and the wider business world.

All of this goes to show that protecting payroll data and keeping it safe is fundamentally important. Here are our top tips for how it can be done and why your business should take the necessary steps now.

Why is the data so sensitive?

As you will probably already know, payroll data contains lots of highly sensitive information such as social security number, how much employees earn, their pension contributions and other details. It goes without saying that if this confidential information is shared it can cause embarrassment and friction amongst employees but much more than that, the data can compromise the security of bank accounts and other related personal details of those concerned. If this information enters the public domain the consequences are numerous.

Morale and Motivation

Keeping the workforce motivated and ensuring they feel appreciated is central to them being effective and consistently achieving. If their employer does not keep their personal data safe it implies they are not valued. Additionally, an employer can cause further issues for themselves. If two employees performing the same function discover they don’t have equal rates of pay it can lead to the confrontation and the employee with lesser pay left feeling demotivated.

How to Keep Data Safe

There are many ways to keep data safe but ultimately, having a clear process comprising set tasks and defined roles will set the tone for safe and responsible data processing. Make sure each employee knows what they are meant to be doing and doesn’t stray from their brief. You can reinforce this by limiting the access respective employees have on the payroll software you use. For example if an individual is only responsible for calculating the hours each member of staff has worked, they should only be able to access that particular part of the system.

Other considerations

Whilst most payroll is now done digitally and stored in the cloud some businesses still like to keep a hard copy as a back up in case virtual systems crash or cannot be accessed. Whilst this may be prudent, all physical data should be kept locked away. Additionally, if using software, only key payroll employees and upper management should have access to all the data stored on there.

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Key Contact: Lynne Auton
Tel: (0845) 308 2288
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