6 Things You Need to Know Before Installing Biometric Technology in Your Workplace

Marlo Hertling

Are you installing – or thinking about installing - a biometric clock to track Time and Attendance? If so, you’ll likely hear concerns from your employees.

Here’s a real-life example of the kind of feedback you can receive:

I have serious concerns about having a device collect my fingerprints to identify when I arrive and leave work. With all the recent data attacks in the news, I worry that my fingerprint could be stolen and used for unintended purposes. I do not wish to consent to having my fingerprints used in my identification. What are my other options?

It’s quite understandable that employees who have never been asked to use a biometric device would have privacy concerns. They might feel like “Big Brother” is watching them.

Employees must understand that you’re not trying to spy on them or put their personal information at risk.

6 Ways to Manage Change When Installing Biometric Technology

In a worst-case scenario, employees may quit if they think that you’re putting their personal information at risk.

But it’s more likely that they just need you to alleviate their concerns.

Addressing their concerns in advance – as opposed to implementing the technology and dealing with the fallout later - will help you boost adoption.

Here are six ways to manage the change and maintain your employees’ trust.

1. Don’t surprise your employees with a biometric clock.

Your employees will have questions and concerns about your biometric clock.

You must prepare them in advance if you want them to use it. This means giving them written notice that you plan to install biometric technology.

Be transparent and let them know your reasons behind the move. If you’re trying to reduce buddy punching and time fraud, let employees know.

Also tell employees how you plan to secure their personal data. You may need to review your local privacy laws and work with your IT department to build a security plan.

And don’t forget to discuss your plans with any unions that operate within your organization. They might have objections or regulations that you need to address.

2. Show employees the benefits.

To get employees onboard, you can explain how the new technology benefits both them and your organization. For example, if you have employees who work in multiple locations, they won’t need to carry separate key cards for every site. The biometric clock will automatically recognize them at each location.

A biometric clock can also track when employees get a different rate of pay for different jobs. For example, a fitness instructor might get a lower hourly rate when she teaches group classes (at one gym) versus a higher fee for personal training (at another gym). She won’t need to complete separate forms or punch in unique codes when she reports to work. Biometric clocks automate many of your time-tracking tasks, so employees, managers, and HR professionals can reduce their paperwork.

You can also use the clocks to ensure that only authorized individuals enter your facility. If an employee isn’t on shift, the clock won’t let them in. This added layer of security helps you protect your employees, organization, and data.

3. Find champions within your organization.

Employees will first turn to their managers when they have concerns about biometric clocks. Prepare your managers to answer questions and champion the technology.

Managers are often willing to promote biometric clocks, because the technology makes their lives easier. For example, they won’t need to manually adjust attendance data if an employee leaves early for a dentist appointment.

Biometric clocks also allow managers to accurately track employee time and attendance. Since everyone has unique fingerprints, employees won’t be able to clock in and out for their friends. Managers will always know when people are clocking in late and leaving early – helping to reduce time theft.

4. Develop a training plan.

A biometric clock is easy to use. But, like any new technology, some training might be necessary.

Post videos that explain how biometric clocks work and what type of information they will collect. Here's one featuring our Solution Specialist, Kim Groome.

Avanti's Time Clock Experience

You can also set up a terminal ahead of time and let people play with it. If everyone shows up on Day One and doesn’t know how to use the clock, it might cause delays and prevent people from starting their jobs on time. Provide access to a terminal where employees can get used to the technology in advance.

5. Assess your HR issues.

A biometric clock will give you valuable data on how your employees’ time and attendance is impacting your organization.

For example, you might notice that some employees always come in early and leave late. Then, you can look into why this is happening. Are you short staffed? Is one employee doing the work of two or three? Do you need to hire more people? It might cost less for you to hire someone new than to constantly pay overtime. A biometric clock can show you opportunities to reduce your costs and make your organization more efficient.

You’ll also identify hold ups in your onboarding process. Are some employees refusing to use the biometric clock? Do they always “forget” to log in and out? If so, you can speak to them and find out if they have any concerns that you need to address.

6. Consider your employees’ medical and religious objections.

Your employees may have medical, religious, or other concerns that prevent them from using a biometric clock.

For example, someone who is missing fingers may not be able to use a hand-scanning device.

An employee in the US recently received a $150,000 settlement in a lawsuit against his former employer. The employer had failed to reasonably accommodate his religious objection to using a biometric clock.

Encourage your employees to share their concerns with you, so you can address them as needed.

The most important thing to remember is to be transparent about how the technology works and why you are using it. This will help you maintain your employees’ trust, boost adoption of the new technology, and make sure everyone gets paid timely and accurately.

Don't Stop Learning About Biometrics

Get our Biometric FAQ 'Will Our New Biometric Time Clock Keep My Personal Data Safe?' for the top 7 questions that employees ask about biometric clocks. You can share this sheet with your employees to alleviate their concerns.

About the Author

Marlo Hertling

Marlo Hertling has worked with leading HCM organizations and has been helping Canadian companies implement HCM solutions for more than 15 years. She is the Vice President of People & Culture at Avanti Software Inc and serves as Avanti's HCM subject matter expert.

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