The bring your own device (BYOD) trend is a popular topic among workers and employers right now as it offers a variety of benefits for both businesses and their employees. An important part of the BYOD conversation, though, involves the distrust (either perceived or real) that exists between employees and employers.
One Bitglass survey found that if IT could not view or alter personal data and apps on personal devices, 48% of participants expect that BYOD adoption would increase; in short, employees, fearing a potential invasion of privacy, are resistant to using their own devices for work purposes.
This lack of trust and/or communication regarding what exactly employers monitor on personal devices can make implementing a BYOD policy in your organization incredibly difficult. Not only is trust essential for implementing new policies, especially ones that involve any kind of monitoring, but it’s also important for keeping employees happy and productive, too. Otherwise, you might consider alternative device management policies such as CYOD, COPE, and COBO.
Luckily, there are a handful of steps you can take to get buy-in from employees around your BYOD initiative, as long as you’re willing to put in the work. Proactively creating measures to increase trust in the workplace, whether that’s in-person or remote, can dramatically improve your organization’s culture and efficiency.
How to Maintain Employee Trust While Implementing BYOD
PRO TIP: Some of the steps outlined here can be used for a variety of different things. For example, consider using these strategies when adopting new tools, implementing initiatives, or creating policies to get employees on board and reduce friction.
The 4 trust building strategies this article touches on are:
- Explain the necessity or the “why” behind the BYOD initiative.
- Promote transparency by providing details.
- Position the BYOD initiative as data management, rather than device management.
- Get employee consent.
1. Explain the Necessity
The key to getting buy-in and support from employees on any initiative is explaining why the measures or policies being discussed are necessary. This level of transparency keeps employees from assuming things that are not true, and it instills more confidence compared to them simply being told what you’ve decided to do without context. This type of transparency is also integral when discussing the management and monitoring of personal devices and, potentially, their personal data.
Start by telling employees that you want to improve their overall experience by allowing BYOD in the workplace, so that they can work off of devices they know well and are comfortable using.
When you explain to employees why a BYOD policy and associated monitoring tools are necessary, make sure to also explain the risks that need to be mitigated and give examples of things that often go wrong with unmanaged devices.
Further, describe how those risks impact both the employee and the organization — this adds a personal level to the discussion. By proving your intentions to protect the employee, their personal device, and the organization’s resources, you will create trust that would not be there without a thorough explanation.
2. Promote Transparency
Although explaining the necessity of a BYOD policy and everything it contains is important for maintaining employee trust, there are other things that you need to have an open dialogue about. One of the most prominent issues with BYOD policies in the workplace is the concern around privacy.
Employees will want to know what you’re monitoring on their personal devices, and they may even want to know how the monitoring will happen. The last thing that you want to do when enabling and securing BYOD is make employees feel micromanaged, or like their personal data is now out in the open for management to see.
To avoid this, explain how monitoring will work and what will be monitored — you can even go as far as providing a demo of the software and tools you will use for BYOD monitoring. Seeing these tools in action and understanding where the line is between personal and work-related data will drive trust and buy-in.
3. Position it as Data Management, Not Device Management
While you’re being transparent with your employees about your BYOD policy, including what it entails and how monitoring works, specifically position this initiative as data management rather than device management; even more, this initiative is about managing work-related data on a personal device. By explaining that you’re only monitoring devices to protect organizational data, you tell users that their personal apps, pictures, data, etc. are all in a separate bucket.
The term “device management,” when used to describe BYOD initiatives, can come off to employees as a very invasive initiative that will inevitably take away their privacy. However, siloing it into “data management” and specifying the data you’ll collect and monitor within the work-related bucket of their device will ease employees’ minds. This goes hand-in-hand with giving a demo of the tools you will use — show employees how data can be separated and ensure them that only relevant information will be collected and monitored.
4. Get Employee Consent
Lastly, after all is said and done and you have explained the overarching BYOD policy to employees — consider requesting consent. One of the best ways to create a comfortable work environment is to get consent from employees around company initiatives that affect them.
By making users feel included and that their opinions are valued, buy-in is much more likely. This is also important for legal purposes, to ensure no employee unwittingly participates in the program and brings legal action forward in response.
This can be done in a variety of ways: you can ask employees how they feel about the policy, including any suggestions or additions they may have. The answers to this will give you a feel for whether or not employees are on board. Another strategy is to simply have employees sign a copy of the BYOD policy when they ask to use a personal device for work purposes. This strategy is one that protects your organization and the employee, and is one of the best ways to enforce your policy while retaining trust that you will also stick to what’s written in that policy.
The BYOD Trend in 2022 and Beyond
The use of personal devices for work can cause heated debates in the workplace, but the benefits of BYOD have it made it very popular among employees and even many employers. The key to proactively dealing with this involves understanding the intricacies of BYOD and creating a policy that protects your organization and your users from potential BYOD security risks.