Biometric technologies can be used as an effective workforce management tool because of their ability to recognize a human’s unique physiological characteristics. It’s these unique characteristics that remain constant over time and are reliably collected using an input sensor. A typical biometric terminal is designed to read one or a combination of a person’s unique fingerprint, iris, hand shape, voice, or even facial characteristics.
Finger readers measure the space between the forks of the ridges in the finger. Hand readers measure the orientation of veins in the hand, or the length, shape and width of the fingers. Eye readers measure the veins in the retina or even the texture of the iris.
How does a Biometric system work?
Biometric systems may sound complex, but they all use the same three steps:
Enrolment: The first time you use a biometric system, it records basic information about you, like your name or an identification number. It then captures an image or recording of your specific trait.
Storage: Despite what you’ve seen in the movies, most systems don't store the complete image or recording. Instead they analyse your trait and translate it into a code or graph. Some systems also record this data onto a smart card that you carry with you.
Comparison: The next time you use the system, it compares the trait you present to the information on file. Then, it either accepts or rejects that you are who you claim to be.
Systems also use the same three components:
1. A sensor that detects the characteristic being used for identification
2. A computer that reads and stores the information
3. Software that analyses the characteristic, translates it into a graph or code and performs the actual comparisons.
Biometric-based time and attendance management systems are becoming increasingly popular in today’s working environment due to their many benefits.
What are the key benefits of implementing Biometrics within your workforce management system?
Time theft prevention: ‘Buddy punching’ and time theft remains a serious concern for employers. Workers unintentionally can overestimate time on the job, or even deliberately misreport overtime, costing businesses millions of dollars annually. As a solution, fingerprints are unique to each person and, with the accuracy of an automated digitalised system, it’s nearly impossible for workers to reverse engineer or falsify time attendance information in a biometrics-based system.
Optimization of Resources: Manual time and attendance management recording requires payroll staff to collect time cards, reconcile paper timesheets and re-enter data in the payroll system. The automation and digitisation of timekeeping means you can smartly reallocate resources or optimize resource utilisation.
Accountability: Biometric technology ensures a clear audit trail for point of entry events, and removes the many issues that are traditionally associated with new identification cards, passwords and PIN numbers. Employers can monitor better, getting better visibility of when and where employees are working, making staff accountable for their time and, as a consequence, their output.
Tracking mobile workers: Biometric technology can be cloud-based or app-based, using geo-location to track where and when staff clock on and off, further enhancing an organisation’s employee tracking capabilities. With no paperwork, it’s a convenient solution for employers with a mobile workforce, including those employees working off site.
Workforce analytics and reporting: Biometric systems also collect and report on real-time workforce analytics. Better insight into what workers are doing and when they are doing it helps employers more accurately invoice clients and external stakeholders. Real-time access to Big Data analytics also makes the workforce more visible to key decision makers who, in turn, can use the data to increase productivity.
Compliance with workforce laws:Calculating penalty rates and allowances can be time consuming, and failure to do so correctly can have some serious legal ramifications. Biometric technology, however, ensures up to 99% accuracy rates in employee tracking, (from start and finish times). Additionally, it can be integrated with many major payroll software packages to calculate wages, including overtime and penalty rates, along with sick leave, annual leave and unpaid leave.
Ease of Automation: Because biometric time and attendance management software uses biological data, employees don’t have to worry about remembering to bring in a punch card or keying in a PIN. This means the payroll department and security staff spend less time recovering lost passwords and manually inputting employee clock-in times.
Enhanced Security: Access to various parts of an organisation can be better controlled in implementing a biometric system, this may be physical access (for example the R&D department), or restricted access with company’s IT network. This type of technology doesn’t match images of employees with security codes as traditional ID cards do. Instead, it scans fingerprints and corresponds encrypted binary data with a specific employee code. Without an associated picture, the scans can’t be used to track an individual or steal their identity.
In summary, Biometric software and monitoring systems are increasingly becoming mainstream technology that is routinely integrated into workforce management solutions. Biometrics is not only a viable method of controlling attendance management costs, but also provides the best available method of capturing accurate, reliable, and secure workforce data, more frequently in real-time. Another key feature is Biometric time clock users consistently report significant reduction in overtime and payroll expenses. Hence, it’s easy to see why Biometrics is a high value opportunity for effective workforce management.