Biometrics have filtered into our daily lives with phones, online banking apps and other ‘smart’ technologies dependent on it for security. Just press your thumb on the button or scan your face with the camera and access the system – it’s easy, effective, secure and much more accurate than the old way of doing things.
So, it’s no surprise to see biometric technology integrated into construction time and attendance software.
How you manage the workforce has a significant impact on business and project performance. When optimised with biometric technology at the point of sign-in and sign-out on site, it can be an effective tool that supports proactivity, health and safety and ultimately, has a positive impact on the bottom line.
Here are seven of the most significant reasons why you should consider adopting biometric time and attendance software right now, regardless of whether you are a Tier 1 contractor or construction SME.
Firstly, what is biometric workforce management?
Biometric workforce management uses biometric-enabled technology to authenticate that employees, subcontractors and agency staff are on or offsite. Workers, or site visitors, scan their fingers or faces at the entry point to verify their identity instead of signing a paper timesheet that’s almost impossible to govern.
On the surface, using biometric technology to manage time and attendance on a construction site is the most accurate and efficient way to track hours worked - due to the unique nature of an individual's biometric profile. But it’s much more than that. It’s a real-time business intelligence tool that helps you optimise workforce management, improving how your business operates from the front line to back office.
1. Switch to proactive workforce management
Biometric workforce management, particularly with solutions that make data accessible via the cloud, give you the oversight needed to understand the intricacies of your staff. It’s more than just tracking the hours worked. It’s the real-time insights – like reporting excess lateness and habitual sick days – that you can access from anywhere at any time, helping you to identify and deal with problems proactively.
All departments within a construction business, from payroll to health and safety, can access and utilise this data pool to produce detailed and actionable reports without getting buried in unreliable paperwork. Employers can set proactive alerts that notify them when workers forgot to sign out, moved into overtime or get close to exceeding working hours regulations – giving you the power to take restorative action.
2. Improve health and safety and compliance
Construction companies and their employees must comply with standard health and safety regulations and site-specific demands while staying abreast of any new legal requirements. It’s not easy. But that doesn’t soften the blow when you get caught out, which is even more painful because it’s rarely done on purpose. It can end with reputational damage, litigation and financial claims from workers.
Biometric workforce management – with a mix of biometric identifiers, intuitive software, and the real-time data that it pushes into the cloud – makes it enormously easier to manage health and safety compliance.
Here are several ways it achieves this:
- Ensuring attendance of toolbox talks is tracked and operatives wear the right PPE with reminders of the mandated protective gear and automated notifications of site-specific changes and requirements.
- Setting permission-based entry ensures only authorised operatives can sign into the site, with ‘red listing’ that prevents banned workers from entering where management does not recognise them.
- Set automated management alerts (via email) for critical situations such as when no first aid trained operative is on site or other non-conformance issues like smartcards expiring.
- Securely store accurate records that help contractors during and after projects as a valuable tool to support project queries and combat potential litigation.
3. Stop time theft and buddy punching
Time theft and buddy punching are painfully common issues for almost every construction contractor that relies on outdated processes. But it’s a symptom of a more significant problem for the construction industry. Let’s say the wrong person – like an non-inducted ‘friend’ – clocks in for someone. The fallout could be more than paying for unworked hours, with possible reputation damage and legal action a possibility.
With biometric workforce management, data cannot be manipulated the same way as traditional methods. Each worker has a unique biometric identifier that only allows that person to clock in and out, eliminating time theft costs while stopping the buddy punching that puts your business at risk.
4. Control the workforce better
Even the smallest contractors are active on several building sites with labour spread across them all.
Larger firms might also have numerous subcontractors under their charge.
Trying to stay on top of where everyone is working, where they need to be, what qualification they hold and how long they spent on each location is an unenviable (and almost impossible) job with traditional tracking.
By using biometric technology to manage your workforce you can get real-time visibility and quick access to exactly where individuals are working and how long they spent on site, enabling you to manage labour better and track the movements of subcontractors across sites. This type of control improves the real-time workforce coordination of labour and boosts communication.
5. Guarantee accuracy and avoid costly payroll errors
Many construction companies, of all types and sizes, continue to rely on ineffective paper timesheets or other outdated time and attendance tracking methods like fobs. These methods are extremely labour intensive and maintain a steady flow of human errors. The costs hit more than just your bottom line too; it hurts your people who trust in your business and expect payments to be accurate and made on time.
Biometric workforce management automates most of the error-prone and mundane work that payroll hates to do, freeing them to focus on more valuable work. Instead of scanning and correcting payroll errors that could still easily be missed, you will have a completely accurate picture of your overall labour costs.
6. Reduce onsite risk
Risk management is instrumental for every construction contractor.
Even with the best intentions, approaching workforce management with outdated methods can expose you to cost and time overruns while leaving you vulnerable to legal claims.
With biometrics you get a complete and accurate view across all of your projects, reducing exposure to risk. Real-time visibility and quick access to cloud-based data helps site managers control the workforce better without relying on loose paperwork and an excellent memory to understand who's on site.
7. Make life easier for employees
Employee job satisfaction is an often understated but significant reason to adopt biometric workforce management in the construction industry. Almost everyone already relies on technology to handle their personal business, be that online banking, social media or any of the other countless apps available.
It makes sense to allow employees to manage their ‘work life’ electronically too.
It’s easy for employees and subcontractors to touch their finger or scan their face as they walk onto the site rather then signing-into a paper timesheet log. It’s a seamless experience. It’s also better for employees in the back office to collate weekly timesheet data and manage working shift patterns for all sites in the software.
It's time to modernise with biometric workforce management
Biometric workforce management is much more than an effective tool for tracking hours worked on site. The right solution provides you with a complete workforce management solution that saves you time, money and resources – with several other substantial benefits.
It’s time to make use of the technology available and transform your business.
Want to learn more? Schedule a demonstration with our product specialists here.