Biometric technology has gained significant traction in recent years, moving from the realms of James Bond films to something the vast majority of consumers are familiar with thanks to fingerprint recognition software on most new smartphones and tablets.
But has your HR department thought about it yet?
Fingerprint scanning – as well as facial recognition, iris recognition and voice-printing software – are increasingly being used in workplaces across multiple sectors, driving efficiencies and cost savings across a range of HR processes. This is because biometrics provide the most accurate, reliable and ultimately unfalsifiable means for verifying vital HR information, from basic identity through to location and time tracking. Here’s how.
Screening and identity proving
Candidate screening, filtering and on-boarding processes typically involve several identity verification elements, particularly in high-security or highly-regulated industries. Meanwhile, HR departments in all sectors need to record proof that their staff have the right to work in the country.
These processes are cumbersome at the best of times, typically requiring the individual in question to visit the premises with documents in hand (particularly complex if the person is relocating), or possibly sending off sensitive documents in the post. Biometrics technology, however, can be used to rapidly screen and confirm identity, a particular godsend when large numbers of staff need to be hired quickly, to cover a major project or a period of peak demand.
Accurately tracking staff attendance and shift length, and integrating this information with payroll, is a crucial task for any HR department. It needs to be a smooth and reliable process both to ensure that staff are paid accurately and on time, and to ensure that the organisation as a whole is operating as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
Biometrics, in conjunction with attendance software, can make the whole process far more accurate and efficient. Staff can be automatically tracked when arriving and leaving the premises, even for temporary breaks. Manual errors, as well as incidents of staff falsifying attendance, are dramatically reduced.
Security and compliance
The applications of biometric technology that most consumers are aware of relate to the protection of electronic devices. A fingerprint or voice command is both more convenient than an easily forgotten password, and harder for a malicious party to falsify or ‘crack’. This higher level of security is just as applicable in corporate settings. Biometric technology can enable businesses to better protect not just their staff’s devices but also their physical premises.
Like two-factor authentication, biometrics can also be combined with one another, or with other verification processes like traditional passwords or swipe cards, to provide multiple layers of security.
Health and wellbeing
Looking to the future, there are also opportunities for HR departments to use biometrics to generate a more holistic picture of staff wellbeing. Wearable sensors measuring characteristics like heartbeat or body temperature could be used to develop rich data for keeping the physical environment as comfortable as possible. Fitbit-style devices could be used to intelligently encourage staff members to keep active and take breaks at appropriate intervals.
In this way, biometric technology can be very clearly used to improve the working environment for staff – but really, anything that can free up HR time spent on manual or inaccurate processes is going to drive organisational improvements overall. Biometrics have multiple ways of helping HR sleep better at night.