The advantages of biometrics for tracking time and attendance

One of Yombu's biometric time clock models

For many businesses that have contractors, shift workers, part-time employees, or various types of hourly workers, it is important to validate when a worker is "on-the-clock" for payroll, security, and/or other purposes. The market is filled with a wide variety of time and attendance software, where the default option for employee clock-in has skewed toward a PIN, password, punch card, or form of proximity (e.g., RFID) card. Yet, only relatively recently have businesses begun to adopt biometric clock-in technology, particularly in the form of fingerprint-based authentication.

Some time and attendance, enterprise resource planning (ERP), point of sale (POS), and other software packages are beginning to offer biometric clock-in as a feature. Additionally, there are a number of biometric time clocks that can operate as standalone units and/or that can integrate into multiple software systems. Yombu, for example, offers a biometric time clock that can operate independently or integrate into numerous systems.

Industries that often leverage biometric time clock technology include manufacturing companies, restaurants and food service, and retail. But many other industries are beginning to see the value of biometrics for time and attendance, including summer camps (and other industries with seasonal workers), family entertainment centers, and even consulting and law firms.

Biometric time clocks have four main advantages. Below, we detail these benefits and, in some instances, provide examples of industries and use cases where a biometric time and attendance option can lead to a positive impact on the bottom line:

Enhanced Site Security

Biometric authentication for clock-in provides an accurate record of who is on-site at any given time. PINs, punch cards, and proximity cards can easily be lost, stolen, or passed between employees. But with a biometric time clock, employees check into their shifts by scanning their fingerprint (or face). Moreover, many biometric time clocks (including Yombu's) include fingerprint scanning technology with "liveness detection," ensuring that any scan is exceedingly difficult to spoof (e.g., with a photograph of a fingerprint). This system provides comprehensive documentation regarding site access and helps ensure that only employees with adequate permission are on premises.

PINs, punch cards, and proximity cards can easily be lost, stolen, or passed between employees.

Summer camps are one example of a business that may find this benefit particularly valuable. For instance, if a camper is injured, camp management may want to know who was on-site at the time of the injury to investigate the situation. Moreover, this biometrics-driven timekeeping system provides a positive signal to parents-both those currently paying fees and prospective ones-that the camp takes the safety of campers very seriously.

Reduced Theft

When money or items go missing from a cash register or worksite, business owners want to know what happened and who is to blame. If clock-in is based on PINs, for example, a guilty employee could easily say, "It wasn't me. Someone must have stolen my PIN number." But with biometric attendance, there is a clear and accurate record of who was working each cash register and/or who was on site.

This can be particularly valuable in restaurant, food service, and retail businesses. For example, a fast food business could adopt the policy (as certain POS systems allow) that employees must sign into each cash register via biometrics, and only one person can be signed into a particular cash register at a time. In this way, if $1,000 goes missing from a particular register, it is easy to know exactly who was working the register at the time of the theft.

Decreased Payroll Fraud

Sometimes hourly employees commit "friendly fraud" by arriving at their shift late while a colleague "buddy punches" them in. While they may only be 20 minutes late, compounding this across employees can represent substantial business losses. Gaps in employee coverage can also result in security issues or lost revenue opportunities. Having employees clock in with fingerprint biometrics properly links payroll to actual time worked and minimizes coverage gaps.

Improved Worker Productivity

While this may seem small, inefficiency in the way employees clock-in and clock-out can, over time, result in material losses to productivity and increased employee frustration. Passwords tend to be the longest to execute for time keeping, while biometrics tend to be the quickest. Even with proximity cards, employees must take them out of their bags or pockets, and in many cases, they may misplace or lose their cards.

In industries with frequent clock-ins and outs, efficiency losses are the greatest. For example, in consulting and legal work, employees tend to bill in 6-minute increments, with frequent breaks and interruptions, and must manage time keeping across clients, projects, and tasks. For this reason, some businesses in the service sector have begun adopting biometric time keeping processes.

Over the next decade, more and more time and attendance systems will adopt biometric means for employee clock-in and clock-out. Yombu is thrilled to be at the forefront of this exciting industry trend.

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Yombu is a software and biometric company focused on creating amazing, digital-first client experiences for all areas of the customer lifecycle.


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