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The merits of digital fingerprint scanner based time and attendance

July 24, 2015

A lot of businesses just run simple time books. Let’s look at a fictional staff member, Tommy. Let’s imagine Tommy is sitting down filling out his time book at the end of a long shift. He’s tired, looking forward to going home and filling out his timebook is a chore. He thinks to himself, “Gee, did I start at 7am or 7:30am today? Must have been 7am I’m sure of it. Besides, even if it wasn’t, I worked hard today, so I’m sure it’s ok to have an extra 30 minutes. I’m sure they won’t mind.” How often do you think this is happening in your business?

How does a digital fingerprint scanner help time & attendance?

Time and attendance tracks staff hours worked via a number of methods - PIN, RFID or fingerprint. Instead of filling out a timebook, Tommy walks up to the machine, punches in his code or scans his RFID, and he is clocked on or off. It’s a simple toggle switch and it saves staff time.

Doing the actuals

Staff clock on at the beginning of their shift, clock out for any unpaid breaks, back in at the end of their break, and off at the end of the day. This forms two or more distinct ‘shift segments’ and best practise is to have the manager or shift supervisor compare this ‘timesheet’ information to the schedule and approve or modify that information. We call it ‘doing the actuals’.

Eliminate buddy pinning

A common problem with traditional time & attendance solutions that customers come to us to solve is it’s difficult to tell who is actually doing the clocking on and off. With PIN-based systems the codes are easily shared and I’ve even (and you probably have too!) seen staff trade RFID cards to artificially increase their hours worked. This is called ‘buddy pinning’ , it is time theft and it’s costing your business money.

How does a digital fingerprint scanner work for T&A?

Introducing a digital fingerprint scanner is a win win - you’ll save time for your staff, managers and payroll staff. Let’s have a look at how a digital fingerprint scanner works for time & attendance.

Time & attendance (T&A) is based around three bits of data: who is this, what time is it, and where are they.

Traditional T&A systems use a 4 to 6 digit PIN to tell the system ‘who’ is clocking on - the code 306087 might be used to represent ‘Tommy’. This PIN code represents Tommy, and he only needs to know the code to tell the machine he’s clocking on or off. But they could share this with another staff. It does happen that if a staff member is late they ring a friend to clock them in with the right code. This can not be done when you add a fingerprint scanner.

To satisfy the ‘what time is it’ requirement, all T&A devices have an in-built clock. If they are cloud-based they will often sync with a server periodically to upload any recent clock-in and -outs.

Where are they can be captured either by:

  • the physical location of the device, in the case of a single store with one schedule or
  • by staff selecting where they are clocking on to, in the case of a large hotel with one T&A device and many different departments.

How does a digital fingerprint scanner work for time & attendance

A digital fingerprint scanner replaces the PIN or RFID for telling the system ‘who’ with a fingerprint recognition device. Instead of Tommy walking up and inputting his code, he simply places his fingerprint on the pad, and the system sorts through the available fingerprints and matches to ‘Tommy’. Additional security can be layered on top - called ‘2-factor authentication’ - where the staff member first inputs their PIN then places their fingerprint on the reader to tell the system who they are. This is the most secure method of fingerprint T&A.

Adding a digital fingerprint scanner to your time & attendance makes sense. You eliminate the possibility of time theft and save your staff time. Compare this simple finger scan to sitting down and filling out at time book - it takes only seconds to clock out using your fingerprints. This means staff are out of the store faster - less distraction - and it eliminates time theft, boosting your bottom line. That’s a win-win!

 


About the Author: Michael Pullman

Michael Pullman

Michael loves working with franchisees and franchisors to introduce cool technology. He's passionate about using data to help managers make great staffing decisions. He loves flying, climbing trees and playing in the snow.