Keeping It Confidential
A co-worker is in a meeting and you need to send him/her some critical information for the meeting without disrupting anyone. Why not send a text message with the information since they have their phone in front of them? Rethink doing so because if you are using a personal phone you will be breaching company confidentiality. This could be perceived as minor but is inadvertently violating company policy. Follow these five guidelines to ensure you maintain company confidentiality.
- Personal Devices Are Personal
While most employees would not admit to careless behavior, there is a chance an employee could lose a personal device or forget to lock it. Anyone can read information on a misplaced smart phone, tablet, or laptop. If you have work information on these devices, make sure they are password protected. For precautionary measures, keep work related material off your personal device as much as possible.
- Encrypt Anything Deemed Sensitive
A co-worker may need to use your computer – for example, help you with a software installation. You might have information open on your desktop that was distributed on a need-to-know basis. If this information is leaked and traced back to you, it can cost you your job. To save the stress, password protect important information and sensitive documents.
- What Is Discussed In The Meeting Stays In The Meeting
Workplace confidentiality is not just about protecting the company and employees, but client information as well. A potential opportunity with a new client or a possible merger might be discussed in a department meeting. That type of information is not public knowledge. It is tempting to share this information with your colleagues, but it is not yet public and is irresponsible to share without permission.
- Set A Procedure
It is very important for a company to establish what is and is not a breach of confidentiality. Establish rules so that there is no gray area. Departmentalize to prevent employees from accessing confidential information. Employee files and personal information should be locked. This will prevent, or greatly limit, the misuse and abuse of information. If you are a manager, set your own procedures.
- The Buck Stops Here
Confidentiality extends beyond company information. As a co-worker, it is your duty to maintain confidential information that is discussed with your peers. It is not your place to reveal when a co-worker is going on an interview for a new company or what was shared about your boss.
It is very easy to make slips in a super connected, competitive, and cutthroat workplace. Maintaining company confidentiality is part of the contract that you signed and also tacitly consented. It is everybody’s duty to do their part and preserve the integrity of their workplace.
Patrick Coughlin is a Marketing Intern at Consultants 2 Go.