Head in the Sand about GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations)? Time for Action

don't be an ostrich with your head in the sand about GDPR
Get ready for GDPR

Well GDPR will be “live” on 25 May 2018 here in the UK and you still have time to get all your ducks in a row.
Given the focus of this website (Fantastic-Managers.com) on people management, this outline is primarily concerned with the effects of GDPR on employees and other workers. However, you will need to check about it effects on all areas of your business, especially the potential impact on customer engagement and handling of data. Visit the ICO site .https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/

Firstly what is GDPR?

These are the new Data Protection regulations that are coming into force in UK law and derive from European Union law. But remember that this will persist in the UK past Brexit so it won’t be going away. Electronic data and technological capability have developed at a pace so that protection needs to be strengthened.

These regulations will affect all businesses regardless of size and purpose and are far more stringent than previous regulations. If you are thinking that you’ll look at this at some unspecified time when you can get round to it, think again.  Plan for it now. GDPR will take immediate effect.  There will be highly punitive financial penalties for breach plus the possibility of criminal sanctions in certain cases. Add to this the potential of expensive employee claims against you and you will see the urgency and necessity of addressing it now. Make no mistake, this law has sharp teeth.

So why all the fuss?

As I mentioned above, technological advances mean that information has the potential to be collected and collated from many sources and shared as never before. The Data Protection Act of 1998 is no longer strong enough.  More robust protective measures are very necessary to prevent unwanted, non-benign or even criminal use of personal data.
[Note, outside the scope of this article: if your business includes global data collection/production you will need to understand and comply with regulations within those countries too e.g. USA “Privacy Shield” ]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/2014413/data-transfers-to-the-us-and-privacy-shield.pdf

In common with legal requirements in other areas where there has been a breach (e.g. such as environmental, bribery breaches etc) GDPR requires that businesses self-report. Instances include
• incidents that are likely to place the rights and freedoms of an individual at risk
• to inform the relevant authority within 72 hours of the business becoming aware of the breach
• notify the public without delay where there has been a serious breach

But help is at hand and the Information Commissioner’s Office has produced an excellent guide.  https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/ You can find that various live overviews and training sessions are being put on by local and national organisations throughout the country.  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/d/middlesbrough/gdpr/?crt=regular&sort=best

What should you do now to prepare for the new regulations?

Well, vigorous “spring-cleaning” comes to mind.  This is no quick flick of a metaphorical feather duster but a real root out of your policies, procedures and an in depth review of the data you already hold, why you hold it. You need to be diligent and make sure that you have the legal right to hold such information, that it is held securely and that indeed it is correct. Take action now to ensure data cleansing of all personal data that you hold both physically and electronically. Additionally, think wider: e.g. do your existing contracts and all policy/ procedure wording now comply with the new regulations? Do you use personal data for a different reason from the original purpose? If so, you will need to get specific consent to hold and process it.

There is a saying that there is no time like the present. You need to give this project priority if you are to complete it by the date that the regulations impact. Instruct someone to handle this who understands its impact and the ramifications of not getting it right.

Lawful basis

The right to hold and process data must have a lawful basis which could rely on express consent. But as an employer your lawful basis will rely on:
• contractual necessity (e.g. bank details for payroll processing)
• legal obligation (e.g. proof of right to live and work in the UK; proof of qualifications)
• vital interest (e.g. health information; next of kin details)
• legitimate interest (not centred around a particular item but must comply with the 3 part test – refer to the online ICO document)

You will ensure that your employees and workers fully understand what data you hold about them, what you do with it and why you need it. Each employee, worker and contractor should receive a data privacy statement which must be clear and transparent. This applies to existing employees and new ones. Do you still hold data from ex-employees: is it still necessary? (It might well be, for instance, necessary for evidence of exposure to hazardous chemicals but check that you only hold what is necessary).

What are an individual’s rights?

It is important to know what rights your employees have over your handling of their personal data so that you can be ready to take timely action if requested. You will no longer be able to charge for information requests about their personal data by individuals. So, the rights are:

1. To be informed: what data you will collect, what you will do with it, how and where it will be handled and stored; notify if you later use the data for a different purpose from its original collection.
You must respond to requests from an individual for information about held about them usually within 1 month
2. Data access: about the details of data held and how it is processed
3. Rectification: that you must correct any details are wrong
4. Erasure – “to be forgotten”.  This is complete erasure, not just archiving or deactivation (check that your electronic systems will do this)
5. Restrict processing: prevent sharing with other entities
6. Data portability: information held can be presented to the individual in an understandable form which they can take away
7. Right to object: e.g. to use of data under certain circumstances relating to research
8. Automated processing and profiling: that a manual intervention can be carried out.  It will be worthwhile to check any automated systems and ensure that manual override can be effected, if necessary.

What, Why, How, Where, When and Who handles data?

Create a data retention policy that defines how and why you collect the data. State who is responsible for its handling and how long you will retain it (define the necessity for keeping it). Look at the data that you collect when recruiting. For example you must get specific permission from an unsuccessful applicant to hold their CV once the job that they applied for has been filled. Ensure you have a data privacy statement relating to recruitment.

Think about where personal data moves to. In particular do the third parties that you contract with handle data correctly e.g. in order to handle areas such as healthcare, pension, payroll. Also are there any internal departments who may also have some details? Do they need it, is it restricted?

Importantly, ensure that each employee and worker is aware of the regulations.  Explain what it means for them personally and how it will impact their role. When issuing each person with a privacy document, go through it with them so that they are fully aware.

Do you need a Data Protection Officer?

Many organisations will not need to appoint a Data Protection Officer: this role has a specific significance within the regulations. It should be a senior role with access to the Board, yet independent from it. This person will have certain duties in their responsibilities to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Such organisations include

  • public authorities
  • organisations that
    – conduct large scale systematic data monitoring
    – perform large scale collation of criminal convictions and offences
    – handle public authority data

I hope you are now energised to take action. This article is a brief look at your obligations. So, have a look at the helpful and easy to read ICO website. There is a lot of information out in the public domain and “not knowing” is unlikely to cut much ice if you fail to meet the new data protection requirements.

GDPR compliance is important and failure to comply will have far reaching ramifications.

Disclaimer: The content in this blog post and website (including all responses to comments) is not to be considered legal advice and should be used for information purposes only.


ICO says: Because it could apply in a wide range of circumstances, it puts the onus on you to balance your legitimate interests and the necessity of processing the personal data against the interests, rights and freedoms of the individual taking into account the particular circumstances. This is different to the other lawful bases, which presume that your interests and those of the individual are balanced.

Copyright © 2018 Christine de Caux
All rights reserved. This blog, article and website or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a discussion/ review.

Manager’s Top Tips to Delegate Effectively

Do you frequently find that you have more work to do than fits into the time available?  Are you spending more time at work or taking work home and the burden of your managerial responsibility weighs heavy?  Moreover, you often compromise family time with work overspill.  An easy pit to fall into: now it is time to climb out of it.  It is time to delegate!

Do you find yourself saying “It’ll take more time to explain, I may as well do it myself”?  Or “This project is so important, I need to be on top of it”.  These are traps formed by the belief that you and only you are capable of completing tasks.  Not true.  Sure you will need to steer the ship, but you don’t need to be in the boiler room!

As a matter of fact, one of the themes that I constantly repeat to my clients (and echo in my blog) is that

a manager’s job is to effect work through people.

Now this isn’t a work-dump scheme.  You will still co-ordinate business strategy and direction.  The difference is that you will have a much better overview enabling better decision-making.  You will develop your team, build greater capacity and resilience.  Crucially, you can reach the holy grail of planned action and optimal performance with minimal stress.

Start thinking: how can you delegate well!

Sound too good to be true?  No, it is achievable.  Just take a step back and:

  • adopt and strengthen your mindset that others are capable of doing work to the standards that you need
  • consider what should or should not be delegated
  • split out tasks according to employee capability. You will need to train up some employees and coach them but once done they will be invaluable to you.
  • encourage your team to work collaboratively to share skills and experience
  • always delegate routine work (e.g. standard reports, filing)
  • empower your team to take responsibility for areas such as scheduling, making minor decisions and answering routine questions. Empowerment is a great tool: not only does it get the job done, it is a strong motivator and gets people more involved in the business.

The Grand Delegation Plan

  • What: define the task outlining the required outcome and your expectations

Of course, you will need to retain personal control over areas such as emergency or confidential tasks, hiring people and employee relations.  Additionally, there will be some tasks where your particular qualification level is mandatory.

  • Who: decide who is dependable with the right skills and attitude and

has the right skills already

needs training and in what areas

needs detailed explanation and more supervision

can work autonomously and reliably produce the right results on time.  Can you pair up people to strengthen skills and approach?

  • Why: delegate properly explain to your employee/s what you want done and why you have chosen them for the job.

Importantly check their understanding

Listen carefully to their reactions, answer questions honestly.  Equally, ask for their commitment

If possible, let them decide how they will plan out and execute the work to enable them to have ownership of it

  • How: outline their main sphere of responsibility and authority; where your employee can get resources and help

Importantly,  let others know that your employee is doing this task on your behalf and acts with your authority.  This will swerve misunderstanding in other parts of the company

Ensure that s/he is not overwhelmed by the addition of this task by reallocating some of their regular tasks whilst undertaking your assignment

Encourage your employee by expressing your confidence in them and ensure that you are available to mentor and give back up.  Establish regular milestones and monitor progress as well.

Always, recognise and thank your employee when they have successfully completed your assignment

And finally…

Remember you have handed this task over to someone else.  Monitoring their progress does not mean micro-managing!!  Avoid being overly prescriptive about how they should do the task.  Use your coaching skills to help people to solve problems for themselvesBut you are not abandoning them; ask open ended questions to help them reach solutions.

Ensure that delegation isn’t seen as “dumping” work.  Communicate your aims and the benefits of the project to the employee.  Explain its importance and the development they will gain.  Be sure to give due credit to your employee for the success of the project.  Never assume the kudos for yourself.

Delegate well and you will start to get volunteers for the next project!

For further reading I recommend:

*This post from Fantastic-Managers site may contain certain affiliate links for which I receive a small commission. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are mine and not influenced by the developing company. Please see Disclosure Statement on website.

Who wants to be a bad Boss?

Comparison list for best manager behaviours: the good boss

Do you have fond memories about a particularly good boss you knew in the past?  Or perhaps you dread the thought of being like that awful boss that you once had.  I bet you couldn’t wait to leave them behind.

Guess what:

being a bad boss is a barrier to productivity!

So, here are four major types of bad boss that you will not want to emulate:

  1. Micro-manager– nit picking, in your face.
  2. Tyrant – loud, bullying.
  3. Overly laissez-faire – offers no guidance and leaves people to sink or swim.
  4. me, Me, ME – grabs employees’ work and ideas by taking full credit for themselves.

Of course, none of these could be you surely?

Well, I am willing to bet that you want to be a great boss, able to succeed through your team.

Inspiring tips to succeed as a manager

Accordingly, when you are a good boss, you enthuse your employees.  Furthermore you will encourage volunteers to take on projects.  Try these great but simple tips to guide your employees to achieve excellent performance.

  • NOTICE, APPRECIATE and RESPOND to your employees.
  • Treat all FAIRLY and with RESPECT.
  • Be FLEXIBLE to meet changing needs of the business and team.
  • Understand your own VALUES and live up to them CONSISTENTLY.
  • Take RESPONSIBILITY for your team and yourself.
  • MOTIVATE by setting clear goals, monitor performance.
  • COACH your team to deliver results.

Remember that people don’t leave organisations but they leave their boss*.  When your employees perform well, your own reputation as their manager is enhanced.  Most definitely good enough reason to ensure that your manager-techniques are top notch!

*(Attributed to Marcus Buckingham in  “First Break All The Rules”.  http://amzn.to/2fmf0XT)

© Christine de Caux 2016      All rights reserved

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is the online home for CdeC Solutions, created by Christine de Caux, HR Consultant Coach

Mailing address: CdeC Solutions,The Apex,2 Sheriffs Orchard,Coventry CV1 3PP, UK

Secret Mistake Many Managers Make

Have you ever told your team that you are always available for them?  And you genuinely believe it? Why could this be a mistake?

“My door is always open”, except that is when it is closed, I have visitors, I am out of the office again, taking an important call……

Hmm, is  this your dilemma?  Do you want to do the best for your team but find yourself pulled in lots of different directions.  Result?  You worry about not having the time to complete your own important targets, feel harassed, frustrated and like a hamster on a wheel going round and round.

Do you sometimes wish they would all go away?!

Now in some respects being constantly available isn’t necessarily the best thing: it could be a barrier to people using their own initiative.  After all it is much quicker and involves less effort for the boss just to tell them what to do.  Pity, as giving them directions all day stops your employees’ growth.  And being constantly available could land you in being referee to sort out pettiness when people can just work it out for themselves.

Getting the balance right

Do you find it difficult to get the balance right and be sufficiently available for your team?  Do you feel pressured by your own duties?  Perhaps you need to analyse and create reports, undertake policy matters or  direct client liaison and so on.  It is no wonder that you want to retreat into your office.  Has it become normal for you to stay there?  Have you become remote, losing that essential human connection with your team…

But here’s the rub: your team will perceive your availability quite differently from your intention.  Your actions shout loudly when they are different from what you tell your team.

“Well we never see him down here.  How can he possibly understand what’s going on?” complained some operators to me about their manager.

They felt that their worries and suggestions were being sidelined and that they were not important enough for the manager to walk around the plant even once a day.  Result: some disenchanted employees who never got to sound out their great ideas for plant improvement, squashing their natural enthusiasm.

Why not try Management By Walking Around (MBWA)? 

Well, my manager friend, this involves you randomly checking in with your team members about how things are going.  And you need to see them at their work station frequently, as well as at any scheduled meetings that you may have.  See them doing their work in a natural way.   MBWA is not a particularly new concept but it still does have merit.

Employees often view their “closeted” managers as aloof, even intimidating.  Consciously take the opportunity to connect with your team.  You will be amazed at how much you can learn from them and find out what is really going on.

OK, so you have a desk full of work that you need to attend to and deadlines to meet.  But it is very important to really get to know your team well.  Get a clear understanding of their strengths, abilities and, of course, get to know when people need explanations and help.

Sound time consuming?  Actually this method to reduces your workload and frustration whilst you gain a perspective on individual performance.

Don’t just walk through the office or plant on your way out to the car park.  You need to really engage with people and actively listen to what they have to say.  Avoid the method beloved of some military types “Any complaints?”

Be approachable, informal and be genuinely interested in each of your team members.

Your employees’ ideas are valuable

Use their grass root perspective to help you with ideas for improvements.  You can gain valuable insight into what actually happens, how plant and systems really work and how customers and suppliers behave.  Ensure that you follow up any concerns and listen to negative comments as these give you valuable insight to morale.

Remember too that a great idea doesn’t mind who thought of it.  Your team members can have some excellent ideas for new products, system modifications and are more likely to share them with you if they are able to talk to you informally during the day.  You probably won’t implement all of the suggestions that come your way, but you will encourage your team by talking things through.  In this way, you encourage their involvement. Ultimately this will improve motivation and performance.

Be careful to talk to everyone at some point  

MBWA is more than chatting to people with the same interests as you.  Talking about football or fashion, is easy but remember that the quiet person is also deserving of your attention.  Walking around gives you the chance to share company vision and values in a practical and natural way.

Equally, make sure that you aren’t in anyone’s face and definitely avoid micro-management!

When you use this technique, you have the added bonus of identifying people to train up to do some of your tasks.  Delegating in the right way enhances your team’s development, a step towards succession planning and not least takes away some of your work burden so that you can MBWA!  You will also gain the trust of your workforce and develop great team spirit where everyone can enjoy their job.

I love Dilbert: look at this!  http://bit.ly/2eWMbOu

©Christine de Caux 2016 All rights reserved

Why not sign up to receive news and posts from Fantastic Managers and be the first to hear about additional material, complimentary mini courses and full expert courses.


is the online home for CdeC Solutions, created by Christine de Caux, HR Consultant Coach

Mailing address: CdeC Solutions, The Apex, 2 Sheriffs Orchard, Coventry, CV1 3PP, United Kingdom