Are Biometric Time Clocks the Future of Workplace Time and Attendance?

While law enforcement in various countries started using fingerprint identification in the late 19th century, the process for capturing and analyzing each fingerprint remained the same for a long time: a human making a visual comparison of two images looking for matching swirls and curves.

The technology improved when computers could do the comparison search, yet it remained too expensive and unwieldy for wider application until recently. In the past decade, biometric technology has advanced sufficiently that the use of biometrics as a means to identify someone accurately is finally catching up to its promise and poised for continual improvement.

Today, fingerprints are just one means of biometric identification. As the technology improves and costs come down, biometric identification is being used regularly in a number of applications including workforce management. It’s proving to be an exceptional tool for improving employee attendance tracking with the potential to make more popular time tracking methods obsolete 

How Biometrics Modernize the Workplace

Biometric technology can replace older technology that is currently used in multiple workplace applications. Security companies use it to control entry areas, people use biometric identification to access their banking app or electronic devices, the tech industry is looking at ways to use biometrics in daily life, including widespread replacing of passwords to gain access to networks and software systems. The innovation trend keeps pushing forward because of biometric technology’s potential to streamline processes, even those that are already automated, and improve security.

Many applications are still a few years away from being used at scale, including replacing passwords with biometric identification. However, biometrics for attendance tracking is here now , helping companies achieve both values, which is why more employers and payroll companies are looking for sophisticated biometric time tracking system options

Advantages of Biometric Time Clocks for Attendance Tracking

Tracking employee attendance with biometric clocks offers a variety of benefits to the business and directly to employees.

Biometric Time Tracking Has a Positive Economic Effect on the Business

Biometric time clocks save companies money in three ways:

1.Lowers labor costs.

Employee time theft adds hundreds of millions of dollars to the annual payroll of U.S. companies. Buddy punching is one of the most common methods of employee time theft. Fortunately, the biometric authentication process is difficult to manipulate. While employees can easily share swipe cards and badges, they can’t share their faces or fingerprints. Nor do they have the means to fool the biometric scanner or authentication process. Thus, a biometric time clock improves the reliability of data collected and the security of the time and attendance system. Your customers will know that the work hours collected are hours worked.

2.Ensures employee time collection is fully automated.

Employees lose their IDs or forget them at home. They do the same with their mobile devices. When that happens, the traditional automated time and attendance system doesn’t work. Their time has to be tracked manually, even if it’s just for one day until they find or replace their card or mobile device. The process of collecting accurate times and entering into the system manually takes time from the employee, manager, and payroll team. It costs time and increases the chances of inaccurate attendance data entering the payroll and workforce management systems.

When the employee’s body is the credential they need to clock in and out, they’ll never be without it when they get to work. They will always be able to use the biometric time tracking system. By minimizing the risk of having to do any manual time tracking, the biometric time clock software enables more complete automated time collection .

3.Reduces volume of alternate credentials needed.

Removing time theft from payroll and virtually eliminating the need for any manual time-tracking workarounds are the major ways biometric attendance tracking saves companies money, both lowering direct costs and freeing up resource time for more high-value tasks. However, you don’t want to overlook the cost savings available by helping your customers significantly reduce the size of their credential management costs.

Your customers may still need another physical credential, but they’ll have to buy far fewer badges, cards, or fobs. Their greater savings will come with HR and IT employees not having to manage physical credentials, track them, de-activate them for security purposes, and spend time on the other tasks needed to manage physical employee identification credentials.

A company with biometric time clocks could eliminate its physical credential program entirely as long the time clock has a keypad where employees could use their ID numbers as an alternate means to clock in and out.**

Provides a Better Employee Experience With Robust Time Clocks

Biometric time clocks are less stressful and more convenient for employees since they never have to worry about losing or forgetting their credentials. They don’t have to remember to have their credentials with them every time they go on break.

They can also clock in and out faster with a well-designed biometric system. The authentication process can run quickly on the time clock, especially when the hardware and software used were designed together to optimize the process. Employees appreciate time clocks that keep the line moving quickly.

Employee Privacy Laws Pertaining to a Biometric Time Clocks

A growing number of states are regulating employer use of employee biometric systems. Illinois led the way with its Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), and other major employer states like California and Texas have followed its example.

Both you and your customers should have their legal and HR teams do their due diligence to identify the jurisdictions with laws or regulations with which they need to comply when using employee biometric data. However, there are best practices all companies should follow that make employees comfortable with and more confident in the biometric attendance system.

1.As a best practice, keep the biometric attendance program optional.

Even in jurisdictions where the law doesn’t prohibit employers from using biometric systems with employees’ prior consent, they should collect informed, prior consent anyway. Some attendance tracking systems may have the functionality to collect and document the employee’s consent right at the time clock, streamlining the process. In addition to collecting prior consent, the biometric system must allow an employee to change their mind. The process to either opt-in or withdraw consent should be easy for an employee to complete. Employers can motivate high enrollment numbers by following the next best practice.

2.Have a strong data management plan and communicate it well to employees.

Employees may have concerns about providing biometric data to their employers. The more effective an employer is at alleviating their concerns, the higher enrollment in the biometric attendance tracking system they’ll achieve.

One of the biggest concerns arises from misunderstanding how their biometric data is stored. Employers can explain how the employees’ biometric information is collected and converted into an encrypted data string called a “biometric template.” When hesitant employees understand that the encrypted biometric template is the information stored and useless outside the attendance system, they get more comfortable. It relieves their concern, knowing that hackers couldn’t do anything with the template, even if they could access the network.

The company’s communication policy should also explain its data management policies, specifically how the biometric templates will be archived and permanently deleted.

How Biometric Attendance Tracking Protects Employee Privacy

Many companies currently use employee photos on their identification badges. Storing the employee photo puts them at greater risk for personal identity theft than the biometric template. Photo manipulation apps using artificial intelligence and “deepfake” tools are widely available and often used online. Hackers who gain access to employee photos files can easily manipulate them to create other photo IDs or otherwise misuse them.

Consequently, the storage of the encrypted biometric template provides greater personal security and privacy to employees than the headshot photos traditionally used for employee credentials.

The Future is Here: Easily and Profitably Resell Biometric Attendance Tracking

Biometric technology is advanced, but that doesn’t mean it’s complicated to implement and manage – not with a properly designed system.

At ATS, we designed Only|You™ Face, ATS’ Facial Recognition System running on our state-of-art time clock, the stride80. Any stride80 time clock with the optional camera can quickly be converted to a biometric device  by activating Only|You™Face optimized to work with the hardware for a fast authentication process. Only|You™ Face also comes with a module that helps direct employees where to stand for the best scanning, making the enrollment and authentication processes work even faster.

The stride80 is an Android-based time clock and can run any Android-based time collection software. Only|You™ Face natively integrates with our Android-based time collection software, but can be easily integrated into attendance software that runs on the stride80. If you already have an Android-based attendance software or have plans to build one, the FRS developer tool kit, along with ATS support, will get you started.

Reselling a biometric time tracking system that integrates with your workforce management solution is an outstanding way to provide customers and prospects a complete solution  – and get the attention from those looking for a technology leader to offer a “future now” system.

Talk with one of the ATS biometric time and attendance system experts today to learn how your company can get to market quickly with a scalable biometric attendance system that will integrate directly with your solution.

**As a matter of positive employee relations, companies shouldn’t require employees to participate in a biometric identification program

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