7 Myths about Biometric Time Clock Technology
Any time you introduce process changes in the workplace, you need to start with accurate, clear information. And when those changes involve employee biometrics, it’s even more important to focus on the facts—because misinformation can do more than breed resistance. It can also play a role in diminishing morale and brand equity. Employers looking to adopt biometric time tracking can avoid these negative impacts by choosing biometric time clock technologies that support your organizational culture and your business needs.
Debunking Biometric Time Clock Myths
- Myth: Biometric time clocks store employee fingerprints.
Fact: Biometric time tracking devices do not actually store fingerprint images. The EmpCenter 4000, WorkForce Software’s primary biometric data collection device, relies on multi-spectral biometric capturing technology. While it looks similar to a traditional fingerprint scanner, the multi-spectral scanner actually captures fingerprint characteristics both at and beneath the skin, recording the scan as a numeric string (as shown in the image to the right). From a security standpoint, multi-spectral technology is far more advanced than traditional surface level fingerprint scanners, which can be compromised relatively easily.
- Myth: Biometrics are only available with time clocks.
Fact: Biometrics may be used with desktop and kiosk applications. USB biometric peripherals enable you to add biometric readers to any existing computer or device with a USB port. This gives you the flexibility to upgrade to biometric time clocks whether your employees log in via terminals or an online time clock.
- Myth: Biometric time clocks don’t work in cold or dirty environments.
Fact: Multi-spectral biometric readers work in any environment. While dirt and environmental conditions could impair true fingerprint readers, multi-spectral technology is less susceptible to environmental conditions, such as topical contaminants, moisture, and bright ambient light.
- Myth: Only employers with a significant buddy punching problem need biometric time clock technology.
Fact: Biometric verification offers a variety of benefits. According to Nucleus Research, 75% of companies experience monetary loss as a result of employees punching in for one another.1 In addition to intentional misuse, biometric verification also prevents accidental punching and integrates well with door access controls for employers with restricted-access areas.
- Myth: Biometric verification will slow terminal transaction times and cause log-in delays.
Fact: Biometric verification takes the same amount of time as entering a banking PIN. Generally, employers can expect biometric verification to initially take an additional 2-4 seconds per transaction. This estimate is primarily dependent on each user’s reaction time and proper fingertip placement, which improves with repeated use. Concerns about congestion at log-in terminals can be relieved by adding additional terminals or kiosks with USB fingertip scanners while employees become accustomed to using the technology.
- Myth: Everyone within the organization has to use biometrics.
Fact: Biometric verification may be required only for select users or locations. Employers have the flexibility to determine which subset of their employee population or locations are required to use the biometric readers to punch, if needed. In the rare event that an employee cannot enroll his or her fingerprint, a simulated enrollment can be generated.
- Myth: Biometric enrollment is time-consuming and hard to manage.
Fact: Enrollment is typically a one-time activity, and biometrics can be managed remotely. Employees can automatically be enrolled into the system the first time they punch in at the terminal—without any administrative assistance. In addition, all biometric enrollments can be managed remotely from our web-based admin module, allowing a manager to remove or add enrollments from his or her computer.
Remember, not all biometric readers are equal. It’s important to choose biometric time clock technology that meets your needs. At the same time, employers must also communicate clearly with employees about how biometric readers work, what data they capture, and how that data will be used. Choosing the right technology and being transparent about how it works can significantly reduce employee resistance to biometric technologies in the workplace, while also helping you capture accurate time tracking data.
1Nucleus Research, “Automating Time and Attendance With Biometrics Reduces Payroll Error and Boosts Productivity,” April 28, 2009. (http://nucleusresearch.com/press/automating-time-and-attendance-with-biometrics-reduces-payroll-error-and-boosts-productivity/)