Swipe cards are one type of employee attendance tracking technology that can help businesses effectively monitor and follow the attendance of their employees. Employee attendance tracking is an essential responsibility for every human resource department. While every company wants to make sure that the employees that they are paying are actually at the office and doing the work that they are paid to do, the benefits of closely monitoring employee attendance go far beyond simple payroll considerations. Today, the use of employee attendance tracking software and tools can help to shed light on employee trends and company health. These technologies can also help HR departments develop policies that reward and motivate certain employees while also reducing the administrative work of punching in individual employee times.
The Importance of Employee Attendance Tracking
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners finds that employee fraud and abuse cause businesses to lose around 5 percent of their annual revenue. While outright theft can require strict internal control, the most obvious and common form of employee fraud is related to hours worked. Buddy punching costs businesses upwards of 373 million dollars each year, and devious employees are always looking for other payroll loopholes to increase their earnings.
Businesses that continue to use outdated employee attendance tracking systems like punch time clocks or even paper time sheets run the risk of losing significant income through time fraud. Even systems that rely on employees inserting usernames and passwords can be subject to fraud as trusted employee friends can share these passwords and usernames to “beat the system.”
When searching for strategies to increase revenue and profit margins, many businesses will automatically turn their vision outward. While opening new markets, adding new products or services, and becoming more competitive are obviously important goals for all businesses looking to grow and expand, improving internal mechanisms that expand influence over your workforce can also play an important role in helping a company meet its economic targets.
With around 80 percent of retail and service industry employees having admitted to committing time theft with current or former employers, businesses of all sizes should consider upgrading to employee attendance tracking systems that will keep a tighter control of the hours that employees work.
What are Swipe Cards for Employee Attendance?
Swipe time cards are similar in many ways to the traditional punch time cards that were a foundational element of companies that relied on hourly employees. Unlike punch cards, however, swipe cards offer a bit more company oversight. In most cases, employees are individually issued a time card that looks like a credit or debit card. The magnetic strip is programmed with information related to that specific employee and the worker swipes his or her card in a time clock that resembles a credit card machine whenever clocking in or clocking out.
Obviously, a swipe card system is a simple way to indicate the number of hours worked by a given employee. In terms of human resource workload, however, a swipe card system for employee attendance tracking can drastically reduce the menial, repetitive tasks that often burdened HR workers who used to have to manually upload the individual time sheets of every employee at a company. Businesses that make the shift to digitalization of their HR department will find that swipe card systems will free up time so that human resource managers can dedicate time to other important tasks such as monitoring and assessing employee performance, improving onboarding procedures, and identifying and recruiting top employee talent.
Furthermore, swipe card systems also have the ability to reduce the tendency of time theft. With punch card systems, an employee running late might call a friend and ask him to simply punch him in, hoping that the manager won´t notice that he is running late. With a swipe card system, that same employee would have to carry his swipe card with him, and thus wouldn’t be able to rely on a friend for buddy punching favors.
What to Look for in Quality Swipe Card Employee Attendance Tracking Systems
If your company is interested in upgrading to a swipe card system, there are several factors that you need to take into consideration to find the system that will be best for your particular business. Some factors that should be considered include:
- Time-tracking capabilities: This is obviously the cornerstone of any system. A good swipe card system will allow for employees to clock in and clock out several times during the day to account for breaks, lunch, etc. More advanced systems might also allow for remote clock in and clock out capabilities. This could be a good idea if your company hires workers who spend part of their time working remotely.
- Time off/sick-leave management: Swipe card systems can also be compatible with HR systems that track accrued time based on the number of hours employees work. A good swipe card system will allow HR managers and employees to easily access data that clearly show when they can request time off based on the number of hours worked.
- Overtime/tardy monitoring: These systems can also be configured to alert HR managers and supervisors when certain employees are either putting in too much time or developing a pattern of late arrival/early departure. This can help HR departments make sure that employees are respecting work agreements.
The Question of Employee Privacy
In our hyper-digitalized world, concerns over privacy and confidentiality should not be taken lightly. In 2017 there were at least 16.7 million cases of identity fraud in the United States alone, and employees should rightfully be concerned about how companies are using their information to track their attendance and performance. Fortunately, swipe cards do not rely on any sort of biometric information such as employee fingerprints, voice controls, or iris scans. The information uploaded to a swipe card can be uploaded only to an internal network within the company to avoid any threats of having private, relevant information leaked outside the walls of the company.
Furthermore, some of the more advanced biometric time clocks that are hitting the market today store certain biometric information such as fingerprints as algorithms. This means that instead of having an actual copy of your fingerprint stored in the system, a complex algorithm for internal use only is connected to the specific fingerprint of each employee. This not only protects employee privacy, but also makes it close to impossible for employees to share information in order to “punch in” for someone who is running late.
Swipe card systems can certainly help businesses more closely monitor their employee attendance patterns. Not only can this help to save money through payroll but also offer important data to help HR departments identify and motivate employee performance.