By Hannah Hein
Many of us spend more of our waking moments working than any other single activity. Which means our bosses probably know more about our routines, attitudes and even financial health and mental states than our own mothers.
Managers also are likely to have encountered at least one person who has entered a dark time in their life. Fighting a serious disease, experiencing the loss of a family member, being sexually assaulted – basically anything outside the normal rhythm of life – are all potential triggers that can lead someone to the point where their mental health suffers, and relief seems impossible.
Among those who hold a security clearance or a position of trust within an enterprise, these stressors may go undetected until the trusted insider reaches a breaking point – and potentially poses a threat to the organization.
Perhaps the employee was fine when first investigated or screened, and only reached a crisis stage when no active monitoring was taking place. Or perhaps they were adept at concealing their struggles during initial screening.
Employers are of course responsible for preventing insider threats, but they are perfectly positioned to intervene in a positive way as well. The only hurdle is putting a system in place that will promote behavioral reporting in a manner that ensures employees will get the help they need without fear of public exposure or retribution or career reversal.
The AI-driven analytics that Haystax developed to mitigate malicious, accidental or negligent insider activities are often thought of purely in terms of ‘finding the bad guys before they do harm.’ In fact, they are equally suited to augmenting employee wellness programs, because the data science behind our solutions is predictive in nature, geared toward identifying early indicators of workplace risk, not events after they’ve happened.
There are two ways the Haystax platform can serve as an employee wellness program’s force multiplier.
First, the AI behind our analytics is temporally relevant. This just means that the timing and severity of an incident matter a lot. The Haystax solution will flag someone if they drop significantly below their normal behavioral thresholds. If it’s the result of something serious, the system will prioritize it for deeper investigation. But if it’s due to a one-time incident (say, yelling at someone in the parking lot because they had a long day) it won’t be much more than a blip and will only impact their risk score for a short time.
Second, Haystax can analyze more than just the data on a corporate network. If an organization so chooses, the platform will ingest and process additional qualitative data relating to positive and negative human behavior, including promotions, awards, employee evaluations, incident reports, legal and financial records and travel and expense records. This more nuanced record of behavior can be conveyed to the personnel department in time to intervene and help an individual, not get them fired.
Haystax specializes in incorporating diverse types of data to produce what we call a ‘whole-person’ view of workplace risk. Network data alone, without these kinds of human observations, is never going to uncover the corporate saboteur, IP thief or suicidal staffer – let alone the employee crying out for help.
A well-designed employee wellness program allows coworkers, bosses or other credible source to report concerning behavior. The Haystax platform, with its model-driven analysis of diverse data sets, provides enough additional context to enable early intervention and allow HR to suggest various forms of stress prevention in the employee’s daily life.
While the analytical results and risk scores are transparent, showing each indicator of risk and how they were prioritized, Haystax also has developed several mechanisms to ensure employee privacy at all stages of an inquiry or intervention – such as data redaction, robust user access controls and detailed audit logs.
An employee wellness program may not prevent the most seriously mentally ill insiders from committing crimes or other harmful acts, but it certainly can help individuals who are suffering now by giving them a way to seek help and get back on the path of wellness before the darkness takes over.
# # #
Note: Philip Wilson is a high-flying executive who devolves into an insider threat in the space of a few years. Find out how Haystax finds him before he does harm by downloading our white paper: To Catch an IP Thief.