For many businesses, biometric clocking systems have been a complete game-changer when it comes to their workforce management. Others, meanwhile, are reluctant to make the leap due to concerns – whether theirs or those of their employees – over possible privacy violations. Unlike alternative employee attendance management software, such as the EAC clocking-in app, which is free to use with any EAC account, biometric clocking always involves the purchase of a terminal, whether that’s a fingerprint clocking machine or facial recognition scanner. Understandably, this means that a lot more research is usually carried out before moving forwards.
With that in mind, we’ve put together our most commonly-asked questions, in the hopes that anyone either completely new to or currently on the fence about biometric clocking systems will find them helpful. For a more general overview, please head to our dedicated Biometric Clocking page.
How does biometric identification work when it comes to employee attendance?
The idea is actually very simple: we all have unique biometric data. If we want to be 100% sure that the employee clocking in really is who they are supposed to be, and therefore receives the correct wages for the hours worked, biometric identification systems are second to none, as they only allow a worker to clock in or out successfully access when the finger or face being presented is a match with the information stored on the system for that person.
What images are stored on the system?
No images are stored. Instead, it is the unique codes that are generated by using the digital images taken from fingerprint or facial scans. There are several ways the algorithms can be calculated to generate the codes, using specific points on the digital images. For facial recognition, triangulation is the most popular.
Does it bring up any potential privacy violations or security threats for my employees?
No, none. This is, without doubt, the greatest misconception when it comes to using biometric identification. People can be highly suspicious when they imagine that a machine is storing their fingerprints or facial scans, but this is not the case. The systems never store any actual fingerprints or facial images.
Employees and employers alike usually take great relief in this knowledge: employees for their own sense of security, and employers for the data protection quagmire they avoid.
What are the main benefits of biometric clocking?
- Accuracy. When it comes to providing accurate employee information, biometric terminals are unbeatable: as an employer, you will know, without a shadow of a doubt, that each employee is being clocked – and paid – for the correct number of hours worked.
- It prevents time theft. It goes without saying that every boss wants to trust their staff members, but unfortunately, the reality is that buddy clocking is a massive – and extremely expensive – headache for many businesses. Biometric clocking effectively eliminates this possibility. Swiping a card on a colleague’s behalf is easy, but if you need their finger or face, it’s a little more complicated…
- Contactless. Facial recognition terminals require no physical contact. This feature means they are ideal in environments where protective hand gear is needed, such as gloves in construction, as well as in sterile environments such as healthcare facilities, where avoiding the spread of germs is essential.
- No accessories. And, therefore, no accessories for you to purchase or replace when they are inevitably lost or damaged. The only accessory your employees need to be able to clock in, is one they always have on them.
What are the disadvantages?
- Cost. Biometric clocking terminals are complex pieces of hardware, and, as such are naturally more expensive than alternatives such as our clocking-in app.
- Sensitivity. Just as their precision is one of their main benefits, biometric clocking systems are far more sensitive than, say, RFID fob readers. This is great when it means no-one else can clock in on their behalf, but the flip side is that can mean that a finger injury, for example, may make the fingerprint difficult to read temporarily (which is why it is always recommended to scan more than one finger per employee at the beginning of setting up the account).
- Practicality. The nature of this technology means that biometric systems are only suitable at a specific place of work – they cannot be used to clock in remote workers, nor employees travelling around to various locations as part of their job.
At the end of the day, as with most business decisions, it all comes down to your specific needs. If you like the idea of using a biometric clocking system and would like more information, a member of our team would be happy to take you through it in more detail, answering your specific business-related questions. If you’d like to see how EAC works, simply request a free demo and we will take it from there.