Employers, Protect Your Employees Against Identity Theft
As more and more Americans are becoming victims of identity theft, many employers are increasing their level of security to protect their employees. A recent General Accounting Office report estimates that as many as 750,000 Americans are victims of identity theft every year. So, what can you do to protect your employees? Here are some ideas.
HR (Human Resources) professionals will generally have a set of standard operating procedures when dealing with employee information. Make sure employee files, both active and terminated, are under lock and key. More importantly, make sure that only the Human Resources office has access to this key. In normal cases, the Human Resources office will be the only department who has any reason to access the employee files.
Unless an officer of the court provides you with a subpoena, your company should have a strict policy not to ever release employee information to any individual except the employee him/herself.
Clean Desk Rule
Does your company have a clean desk rule? If not, you’d better make sure one is instituted. This rule ensures that any employee who deals with any type of sensitive employee data clears their desk and files and that this information is under lock and key whenever they leave their workstation. Many financial and housing institutions already practice this rule.
Social Security Masking
In the past, entire social security numbers were used to identify an employee. With the increase in identity theft, (and the methods by which thieves acquire this information), employers are now using number masks. In other words, instead of identifying John Doe as 123-00-4567, he is now identified as Doe XXX-XX-4567. This is what is used when sending information via mail or email and has dramatically helped employers reduce identity theft.
Use It Then Lose It
After an employee processes data containing sensitive information, and if it is not required to be refilled, information should be destroyed. A common paper shredder can be purchased for about $50.00 at any office supply store and can be another weapon in your arsenal to protect your employees. Documents should be shredded either immediately after use or at the very least, the same day before the end of the work day. This avoids storing hundreds of documents that can cause your employees’ information to be stolen.
Identity theft causes months of grief and potentially thousands of dollars to fix. It’s up to employers to do their part in protecting them at the workplace.
Employee Time Tracking
Time tracking is the act of tracing out the time spent on each activity in a particular period of time. With so much pressure on time these days, time tracking and management has become absolutely necessary. Though time tracking was initially just a method for keeping track of the way employees use their time, today it is a major program that is used for several other things like: payroll processing, employee productivity, revenue management, client management, invoicing, database management and project management.
Employee time tracking was first done using simple time cards or punch cards. Employees had to punch in their cards, when they came in or out, into a machine that would record the time. The timings were later copied onto spreadsheets and analyzed manually to determine how much time an employee spent in the office. This simple mechanism was sufficient in the days when there was not too much stress on the productivity of employees. However, with technological diversions like the Internet, e-mails, and phones, it has become very important to track the exact time the employee spends working. Besides, some enterprises have thousands of employees located at different locations across the world, working in different time zones, which make employee time tracking even more important. There are several advantages of employee time tracking: it makes payroll processing easier by tracking the exact hours an employee worked, increases revenues by correct invoicing, and makes database management easier. There are also some disadvantages: employees do not appreciate it they feel too much pressure for showing results for every minute; or the information may not be used properly.
Today, there are hundreds of employee time tracking programs and software packages available. These not only make tracking, but also billing, payroll, project costing and estimation easier. Besides, they can track the employees use of time in the absence of the supervisor. Employees located even thousands of miles away can be tracked using this software. These software programs can be downloaded easily onto any platform and used either offline or online. They can also be customized to suit exact requirements. Information about this software can be obtained over the internet.
Employee Time Clock System
Employee time clocks are time systems used by organizations to accurately record the number of hours worked by each employee every week. The clocks have evolved with time and the companies still need some sort of system that they can use to generate payroll and ensure that the employees are paid for each hour they worked. Today, employees use swipe cards with a magnetic stripe through a slot that reads their name and records the time every time they clock in or out, much like the old punch clock system of long ago.
At the end of a work week, the main computer computes the total hours worked for every employee and prints it out on a spread sheet. This rids the payroll system of human error, making it much more efficient. The employee time clock has been linked to a factory’s employee productivity. It is commonly placed near the main entrance or break room. An employee who is not paid for break time must clock out for a break and must also remember to clock in before resuming work after the break.
Sometimes, it is found that employees try to use the time clock to gain an advantage. For instance, employees may clock in or out for each other. This is why company rules and time clock technology keep changing in order to keep employee misdeeds in check. Company policy forbids employees from punching or swiping for each other and both employees stand a chance of losing their jobs if caught. Again, with the advent of new technology, like clocking in and out using nothing but fingerprints, such employee behavior is now a thing of the past.
The manual time clock system, though time saving and error-free, is not entirely perfect. Sometimes, the magnetic strip on the back of a card may get damaged. When the employee swipes the card, the machine may not register it. Such inadequacies are corrected in the computer time clock system. Even with the advent of computer software and advanced time keeping techniques, the principal of the employee time clock remains the same. Hourly employees will always need a way to keep track of their time and organizations will need logical ways to monitor and record an employee’s time to ensure productivity.
Employee time clocks are available in all various forms such as biometric time clocks, punch time clocks, computer based time clocks, etc. Today, there is wide array of employee time clock systems on the market, from yesterday’s free standing polling, memory based clocks to today’s advanced PC based time keeping solutions, from standard mechanical clocks to electronic time clock systems. This is why choosing a system that suits your needs is a daunting task.
Small employee time clock systems can cost you anything from to $5 to $50. And for bigger and more advanced time clock systems, you will have to pay in the range of $250 to $550.