Skip to main content

Temporary workers make errors with data quality

Richard Jones Archive

For businesses of all sizes, it's important to make sure that data quality is a priority for everyone, from the top of the corporate ladder to the bottom. It shouldn't just be chief information officers and IT ringleaders who focus on accurate information - clean data should be important to everyone. If one employee lets an error slip through the cracks, it could have an adverse effect on the entire company.

Unfortunately, there's one segment of the workforce that often struggles to maintain high standards with data - temporary workers. When people are hired on a contract basis, they often don't have the passion or technical skills required to make clean data a priority. As such, mistakes often happen.

According to the Information Commissioner's Office, we're currently enduring a particular worrisome time of year for data quality. Companies have a clear need for rich banks of information, as they're looking to generate high levels of business this holiday season, but the margin of error is unfortunately higher. Many companies are using temporary workers to help them manage the end-of-year spike in demand, and these employees often aren't well-versed in how to handle information effectively.

Sally Anne Poole, enforcement group manager for the ICO, explained that workers and their employers shouldn't use temporary contracts as an excuse for their mistakes.

"The temporary nature of their employment doesn't absolve employers of their legal responsibilities for making sure people's information is being looked after correctly," Poole stated in a news release. "If organizations are employing temporary or agency workers into positions that involve the handling and sending out of personal information, then they must make sure these staff have received adequate data protection training."

Temporary workers can pose an especially noticeable difficulty in the retail sector. Because there is an increase in store traffic around the holiday season, that often means more pressure on temp workers, who are more likely to enter data incorrectly into point-of-sale systems. They may collect incorrect email addresses, phone numbers or mailing addresses, which could disrupt gift deliveries and future promotions as well.

The stakes become higher around Christmas, as even minor mistakes can equal major disaster during the busy shopping season.