#StorytellingTuesday: HR must master biometrics, ‘untouchable’ tech in the future of work

November 28, 2018 | Holly Pennebaker | HCI
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I’ve owned an iPhoneX for a month, and I’ve yet to set up the face recognition feature that allows you to access the phone and apps by simply looking at the screen.

Not that I’m against it; I’m just totally OK with swiping my thumb upward from the bottom of the screen, entering a 4-digit passcode and going from there.

When I arrive to work each morning, I pass a magnetic card in front of a card reader to gain access into the parking garage. That same magnetic card, when swiped in front of another reader, gets me into the building and after riding an elevator to the first floor, I arrive at my desk. I unlock my computer by … get this … hitting the power button, entering a password, and (since its recent rollout) a 6-digit code that’s texted to me … on that same phone sans facial recognition.

I don’t make a face at the garage or use my fingerprint to begin daily tasks. I swipe cards. I hit buttons. I type codes. I even fill my own water bottle by pushing a lever.

But in the future of work, this will all change, and those precious, old-school buttons could soon be obsolete.

Biometrics, as described by The Biometrics Institute, “covers a variety of technologies in which unique identifiable attributes of people are used for identification and authentication.”

“These include (but are not limited to) a person's fingerprint, iris print, hand, face, voice, gait or signature, which can be used to validate the identity of individuals seeking to control access to computers, airlines, databases and other areas which may need to be restricted.”

As one can imagine, biometrics are expected to change the way we work, and because of biometrics’ impact on individual candidate and employee experience, HR must adapt to each change brought about by these new, untouchable technologies (see what I did there?).

Companies like Facebook and Microsoft are working to make passwords a thing of the past, intel analyst Selena Larson reports.

A new authentication standard developed in collaboration with other tech companies “will enable Windows consumers to use multiple devices — including third-party security keys or a security monitors that track your heart rate — to automatically log in to their computers without a password,” Larson said.

Future of work fanatics trust the transition to biometrics to get rid of passcode problems like stolen codes, which are easy to change and as it seems these days, easy to steal.

Biometrics are harder to hack, Larson found. She said biometrics collected with Windows are only stored on the device and not shared on a cloud or with third parties.

Biometrics believers have even started tracking employee behavior to prevent hacks.

“Security firm BioCatch provides tools for companies to learn employees' digital behavior and identify when an unauthorized person is trying to access information,” according to Larson. People may be cautious about having their behavior tracked, but the trend toward biometrics should only grow.”

The use of biometrics only looks to pick up pace as the impact on tomorrow’s workforce means better experiences for candidates and employees.

How do HR leaders adapt to the future that biometrics holds? If HR falls behind in biometrics, they won’t be able to provide such benefits to their people, which means major problems could ensue. Candidates might look elsewhere. Employees might leave. Biometrics is a party no HR professional should be late to.

Future of Work expert David D’Souza will share the latest on biometrics and the Future of Work, along with important changes HR leaders must learn about, during the Dec. 11 #StorytellingTuesday webcast, “Will ‘The New’ become ‘the now’ in the Future of Work?” Register online.

D’Souza’s report will also cover the future of the recruiting experience, tech and employee/organization relationships and emergent tech’s development into widespread usage.

Granted, you can’t make a face at the webcast video player to begin watching, and it won’t recognize your fingerprint, but you should attend the webcast by hitting the play button anyway.