Leading up to our participation in the National Retail Federation’s 2011 “Retail’s Big Show” from January 9 – 12 in New York city, M2SYS Technology is publishing a blog series on the top 15 reasons that biometrics is a smart choice for retail organizations to consider as an authentication technology in workforce management and retail point of sale applications.
In case you missed it, here are the links to our prior posts in the series:
And now on to our next post…
Reason #4 – Establish Employee Accountability
What Does It Mean To Be Held “Accountable” For Your Actions?
We have been writing these blog posts to highlight tangible ways that biometric technology can save money, time and resources for retail establishments. Today, we want to talk about a topic that proves how biometrics can add something intangible to a retail business. Something that is tough to quantify, but nevertheless has a significant impact on the work environment, corporate culture and employee attitude. That topic is accountability.
What exactly does it mean to be held “accountable” for something? The literal definition of “accountability” is:
an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions
Why then, is it so difficult at times to get your employees to act in a manner that demonstrates their accountability for performance on the job? Often times the answer to that may lay within the infrastructure of your business. Does the environment that you create for your employees foster a sense of commitment from employees to deliver the value that you expect? Do you carefully monitor the style of your manager(s) to ensure that they are not inadvertently stifling employee accountability? Is your business suffering from a failure to communicate goals, poor hiring decisions or inadequate delegation of responsibilities? These are all very important questions to ask, and looking at the processes and procedures in place for your managers and staff to execute the day to day operations of the business is a vital area to diagnose.
Why Technology Matters As A Tool To Hold People Accountable
There is no doubt that if you have identified accountability as an issue at your business, you have taken a multi-faceted approach to unraveling the root cause. Most likely, you looked at the effectiveness of your leadership, the clarity of your strategic direction, employee engagement, the “execution mentality” of the firm and other areas. You may also have studied your system of monitoring and review. Chances are if you took this step then you probably studied what technology you are using to help keep the gears of the business machine operating. If you suddenly discovered that you were not using modern technology to safeguard your inventory and profits then you may have uncovered a crack in the shell of your staff accountability platform.
Think about a scenario where you may be using outdated point of sale (POS) software. It has become so easy and so well known amongst employees how to rip off the system by simulating false returns, skimming profits or stealing inventory that even though all employees don’t engage in stealing, most all know how to do it. Hence, the honest employee who knows how to manipulate the system but chooses not to probably doesn’t feel a sense of pride about the job, the company or the internal systems in place. Stripped of their sense of ownership, pride and enthusiasm, they most likely will not feel accountable for their actions even though they truly are not engaging in any type of perfidious behavior. It’s the atmosphere that creates an environment absent of accountability for these employees.
It’s easier to trace back a lack of accountability for those employees who do steal, lie and cheat. Simply stated, they discover a way to cheat the system and when successful, abandon all sense of accountability for their actions. They decide that since the systems in place allow them to take advantage of it, why should they hold themselves accountable for anything they do?
How Does Biometric Technology Create Accountability?
If the POS software you are using is archaic, subject to malfeasance and corrupting your staff then why not consider incorporating a system that removes these inadequacies? Biometric technology ensures that there is a clear audit trail for transactions, thereby encouraging responsibility from your staff to act ethically and be accountable for their actions.
Biometric technology in a POS software application also leaves no doubt of the individual identity on who is performing a transaction and removes the possibility of swapping ID’s, passwords or PIN’s. This creates a sense of accountability among employees because they can consider biometric technology their “get out of jail free” card. Biometrics removes the fear that the employee will somehow be falsely accused or framed for an illegal act against their employer which they did not commit.
All of these points are strong arguments to consider adopting biometric technology in your establishment as a means to strengthen accountability among your employees. What’s holding you back? What are some other ways that you have found which work well in boosting employee accountability?