Avoid these 5 common pitfalls when using geofencing to track employees.

Geofencing provides benefits when implemented carefully. Learn from other employers’ mistakes.

Geofencing Pitfall #1 Lack of Formal Policies

You should have a formal attendance policy. Employees can’t be successful unless they have clear expectations.

The policy should address the following issues for employees:

  • How do I punch in/out?
  • What if I forget to punch in/out?
  • Where do I see my schedule?
  • Where do I see my time card?
  • What if I get to work a few minutes early—can I clock in?
  • Can I clock out after my shift end time?
  • Am I supposed to clock out for breaks and meals?
  • What if I need to trade a shift?
  • Is there a penalty for not calling my manager when I can’t make it?

There will be additional issues for mobile employees:

  • What if I can’t find the job site?
  • When does my shift start? (When I leave home, or when I arrive at my first service call?)
  • What if I have car trouble or get stuck in traffic?

Geofencing apps are used on mobile devices. Thus, you’ll need a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy. Consider compliance, cost, and data security.

Can employees turn off the tracking app when they end their shift? Where is data stored? Who has access to it? If you provide devices to your employees, can they use them for personal activities?

Include The Policy in Onboarding

Time and attendance instruction should begin with onboarding. If you use an HR portal, include a link to the policy. It should also be in your employee handbook.

During onboarding, require new hires to sign a document agreeing to be monitored. They also pledge to obey the rules. You want to create accountability and set expectations from the beginning. Plus, it will protect you if they ever initiate a labor dispute.

Geofencing Pitfall #2 Not Enforcing The Policy Consistently

If managers play favorites, morale will plummet. If you penalize employees for not punching in within the geofence, you must apply the discipline consistently.

Geofencing Pitfall #3 Lack of Training

Don’t assume your employees will immediately know how to use your timekeeping app. Most mobile systems are intuitive, but provide formal training to each new hire. Check your vendor training resources.

Help Your Managers Get The Most Out of Your Software

Train your managers on the supervisor or admin functions. Time tracking apps have numerous manager tools. These include notifications and threshold alerts. If your geofencing app is synced to your timekeeping system, your managers can approve time cards, PTO requests, and shift changes in the app.

Geofencing Pitfall #4 Breaking Workplace Laws

Location based employee tracking has legal implications. Know the laws in your state and city. Here are the most common issues:

  • Do I need consent from my employees to track them?
  • Am I tracking workers on public or private property?
  • Are my employees using personal or company vehicles?
  • Are my employees using personal or company-provided mobile devices?
  • Am I tracking them outside of normal work hours?
  • Where will the information be stored?
  • Who has access to it?

Geofencing Pitfall #5 Employee Misconceptions

Before starting geofencing, explain the reasons to your employees.

  • You will know they arrived at the job site safely
  • You can track work time for payroll accuracy
  • They will know they are at the correct work location
  • They will be recognized for punctuality
  • They will be recognized for staying late when needed
  • You can track staff allocation for client billing
  • Geofencing prevents time theft
    • Time theft reduces revenue
    • Excessive time theft can put the company out of business
    • Inflated labor costs prevent wage increases

When your employees understand the benefits, they will be more comfortable with geofencing. Geofencing is still fairly new. New technology is often mistrusted. As it becomes more common, employees will be less likely to resist it.

By Liz Strikwerda