Ending DACA Could Make Labor Shortage Worse

Surveys of DACA beneficiaries reveal that roughly one-fifth of them work in the health care and educational sector, suggesting a potential loss of tens of thousands of workers from in-demand job categories like DSP’s, home aides, and nursing assistants.

Projections by the government and advocacy groups show that the economy will need to add hundreds of thousands of workers in these fields over the next five to 10 years to keep up with escalating demand, caused primarily by a rapidly aging population.

“It’s going to have a real impact on consumers,” Paul Osterman, a professor at the Sloan School at MIT and author of a new book on long-term care workers, said of the DACA move.

Mr. Sheik is the chief executive and founder of CareLinx, which matches home care workers with patients and their families. The company relies heavily on authorized immigrant labor, making the looming demise of the program a decidedly unwelcome development. The move, Mr. Sheik said, would compound an already “disastrous situation in terms of shortages of supply.” He added, “This is a big issue we’re focusing on.”

According to census data Mr. Osterman analyzed, more than one-quarter of home health aides in 2015 were immigrants. The proportion in certain states is far higher, reaching nearly one-half in California and nearly two-thirds in New York.

As a basic matter of economics, removing tens of thousands of workers from occupations that already suffer from a serious labor shortage — the Labor Department predicts the country will need more than 1.25 million home health aides by 2024, up from about 900,000 in 2014 — generally has one unambiguous effect: driving up costs.

The economic problem is twofold. First, state governments, through Medicaid, often pays the salaries of DSP’s, meaning that escalating wages could blow a hole in state budgets (assuming the State increased funding!). If the states refuse or are unable to increase funding, then the labor shortage will get worse as for-profit organizations such as fast-food and Amazon warehouses raise wages.

Second, an acute shortage of DSP’s could force many older and disabled Americans out of their homes and into care facilities, where costs are roughly two-to-three times the cost of home care for a full year. The government typically picks up that tab as well.

For clients who rely on immigrant workers, “if that person is gone, can’t get renewed, it’s not a cute thing,” Professor Osterman said. “A home health aide is what lets you stay at home.”

Attracting and Retaining Millennials at Your Agency

Does Your Agency Have a Plan for Hiring and Retaining Millennials?

According to LinkedIn’s 2015 Talent Trends Report, millennials will comprise 50% of the workforce by the time 2020 rolls around. In less than 10 years, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. Yet many agencies, despite hiring and retention problems, have not considered the unique opportunities and problems of attracting and retaining this growing segment of the workforce. But who are millennials, and how do agencies make themselves more attractive places for millennials to work?

Who Are Millennials?

There are no precise dates for when the millennials cohort starts or ends. Demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years.

In reality, there are strong similarities between millennials and the generations that have preceded them: they want security and variety in their career, they want to be stretched and challenged, they want to work for a company of which they can be proud, and they have every intention of being loyal.

But there are many ways in which this growing proportion of the workforce is different. They have strong beliefs and expectations that extend to the workplace.

Where Millennials Want to Work

Data suggests millennials are driving a shift towards the public service sector. In 2010, Myers and Sadaghiani published research in the Journal of Business and Psychology stating heightened participation in the Peace Corps and MeriCorps as a result of millennials, with volunteering being at all-time highs. Volunteer activity between 2007 and 2008 show the millennial age group experienced almost three-times the increase of the overall population, which is consistent with a survey of 130 college upperclassmen depicting an emphasis on altruism in their upbringing. This has led, according to a Harvard University Institute of Politics study, six out of ten millennials to consider a career in public service.

A 2014 Brookings publication shows a generational adherence to corporate social responsibility, with the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) 2013 survey and Universum’s 2011 survey, depicting a preference to work for companies engaged in the betterment of society. Millennials’ shift in attitudes has led to data depicting 64% of them would take a 60% pay cut to pursue a career path aligned with their passions, and financial institutions have fallen out of favor with banks comprising 40% of the generation’s least liked brands.

In 2008, author Ron Alsop called the millennials “Trophy Kids,” a term that reflects a trend in competitive sports, as well as many other aspects of life, where mere participation is frequently enough for a reward. It has been reported that this is an issue in corporate environments. Some employers are concerned that millennials have too great expectations from the workplace. Some studies predict they will switch jobs frequently, holding many more jobs than Gen Xers due to their great expectations. Psychologist Jean Twenge reports data suggests there are differences between older and younger millennials regarding workplace expectations, with younger millennials being “more practical” and “more attracted to industries with steady work and are more likely to say they are willing to work overtime” which Twenge attributes to younger millennials coming of age following the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

Political Views

Surveys of political attitudes among millennials have suggested increasingly social liberal views, as well as higher overall support for classical liberal economic policies than preceding generations. They are more likely to support same-sex marriage and the legalization of drugs. The Economist parallels this with millennials in the United States, whose attitudes are more supportive of social liberal policies and same-sex marriage relative to other demographics. They are also more likely to oppose animal testing for medical purposes than older generations.

Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist and democratic candidate in the 2016 United States presidential election, was the most popular candidate among millennial voters in the primary phase, having garnered more votes from people under 30 in 21 states than the major parties’ candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, did combined. In April 2016, The Washington Post viewed him as changing the way Millennials viewed politics, saying, “He’s not moving a party to the left. He’s moving a generation to the left.” Bernie Sanders referred to millennials as “the least prejudiced generation in the history of the United States”.[90]

Millennials are expected to make up approximately half of the U.S. workforce by 2020. Millennials are the most highly educated and culturally diverse group of all generations, and have been regarded as hard to please when it comes to employers. To address these new challenges, many large firms are currently studying the social and behavioral patterns of millennials and are trying to devise programs that decrease intergenerational estrangement, and increase relationships of reciprocal understanding between older employees and millennials. The UK’s Institute of Leadership & Management researched the gap in understanding between millennial recruits and their managers in collaboration with Ashridge Business School.[134] The findings included high expectations for advancement, salary and for a coaching relationship with their manager, and suggested that organizations will need to adapt to accommodate and make the best use of millennials. In an example of a company trying to do just this, Goldman Sachs conducted training programs that used actors to portray millennials who assertively sought more feedback, responsibility, and involvement in decision making. After the performance, employees discussed and debated the generational differences they saw played out.

Average incomes for millennials have fallen at twice the general adult population’s total drop and are likely to be on a path toward lower incomes for at least another decade. A Bloomberg L.P. article wrote that “Three and a half years after the worst recession since the Great Depression, the earnings and employment gap between those in the under-35 population and their parents and grandparents threatens to unravel the American dream of each generation doing better than the last. The nation’s younger workers have benefited least from an economic recovery that has been the most uneven in recent history.”

In 2014, millennials were entering an increasingly multi-generational workplace. Even though research has shown that millennials are joining the workforce during a tough economic time, they still have remained optimistic. About nine out of ten millennials surveyed by the Pew Research Center said that they currently have enough money or that they will eventually reach their long-term financial goals.

Use of Technology

In their 2007 book, authors Junco and Mastrodicasa expanded on the work of William Strauss and Neil Howe to include research-based information about the personality profiles of millennials, especially as it relates to higher education. They conducted a large-sample (7,705) research study of college students. They found that Next Generation college students, born between 1983–1992, were frequently in touch with their parents and they used technology at higher rates than people from other generations. In their survey, they found that 97% of these students owned a computer, 94% owned a mobile phone, and 56% owned an MP3 player. They also found that students spoke with their parents an average of 1.5 times a day about a wide range of topics. Other findings in the Junco and Mastrodicasa survey revealed 76% of students used instant messaging, 92% of those reported multitasking while instant messaging, 40% of them used television to get most of their news, and 34% of students surveyed used the Internet as their primary news source.

One of the most popular forms of media use by millennials is social networking. In 2010, research was published in the Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research which claimed that students who used social media and decided to quit showed the same withdrawal symptoms of a drug addict who quit their stimulant. Marc Prensky coined the term “digital native” to describe “K through college” students in 2001, explaining they “represent the first generations to grow up with this new technology.” 

Millennials use social networking sites, such as Facebook, to create a different sense of belonging, make acquaintances, and to remain connected with friends. In the Frontline episode “Generation Like”, there is discussion about millennials, their dependence on technology, and the ways the social media sphere is commoditized.[164]

Along with being educated, millennials are also very upbeat. As stated above, about 9 out of 10 millennials feel as though they have enough money or that they will reach their long-term financial goals, even during tough economic times. They are also more optimistic about the future of the U.S. in general. Additionally, millennials are also more open to change than older generations. According to a Pew Research Center 2008 survey titled Millennials in Adulthood, millennials are the most likely of any generation to self-identify as liberals and are also more supportive of progressive domestic social agenda than older generations. Finally, millennials are less overtly religious than the older generations. About one in four millennials are unaffiliated with any religion, which is much more than the older generations when they were the ages of millennials.

12 Tips to Attract Millennials to Your Agency

There are a number of key steps employers can take to address the needs and preferences of millennials. Consider these 12 tips to ensure your agency is millennial-friendly:

  1. Emphasize your mission! 64% of millennials want to make the world a better place. This is a great opportunity for agencies who communicate their mission. A purpose-driven organization should be more attractive to purpose-driven people like millennials. This should give agencies a hiring and retention advantage with millennials over retail and other competing employers. Get these employees connected to your agency’s higher purpose and prove you’re ready to help them achieve their bigger-picture ambitions, too. Most millennials would rather make a difference than make a ton of money. Encourage them to see the agency as an opportunity to give back to the community. Invite millennials to fundraisers and offer volunteering opportunities. Show them that they can have a positive impact on the world at your agency.
  2. Focus job postings on the greater good. Millennials are particularly keen on societal mission and contribution to the global good, so putting their work in this context inspires them. Job postings should focus on the value of work and importance to the organization and society.
  3. Keeping in touch with millennials is key, whether it’s during the recruiting process or while they’re employed with your organization. Be helpful and maintain open communication. Millennials enjoy using communication systems, media, and technology. Avoid using paper forms with them, and instead use email and texts to follow up with applicants. Provide post-interview feedback opportunities. According to LinkedIn’s Talent Trends Report, 95% of millennials want to hear what you thought about them after the interview.
  4. Use technology! While older employees may be more comfortable with paper timesheets, schedules, and documentation, millennials definitely will not. They are the generation identified with the smartphone, texting, and online internet activity. If it’s not online, millennials will find it hard to take seriously. Millennials enjoy automated digital alert systems like next shift reminders, review notifications, birthday and anniversary greetings, etc. Make sure your timesheets, schedules, documentation, PTO, training, and everything else you can think of is online and accessible. Millennials will want the ability to check their schedule or look for an open shift online, preferring organizations that use technology effectively to achieve their mission. Agencies that appear backward or unwilling to adapt will not be attractive places for millennials to work.
  5. Be a mentor. Offering help and guidance is a way to create trust and loyalty with millennials. Send updates every three days from the hiring manager to applicants in the application process to court millennial workers. If your agency has a mentorship program, call attention to that during the interview process.
  6. Get organized and document your procedures! For some, part of the learning process is to learn by doing — to figure out a process that others in the organization already know. But millennials have a different approach to problem solving. They don’t want to “go figure it out” (why do I want to spend two hours figuring out what you already know? Send it to me, and I can spend that two hours moving forward.) Set aside the perception that 10 minutes of downloading information is laziness. Allowing them to take it forward will challenge and excite them.
  7. Make work fun, challenging, and exciting! For millennials, work is supposed to be fun. For this generation, there’s a free-flowing intersection between work and life. Keep millennials engaged and challenged by giving them additional responsibilities, especially when offering a pay raise isn’t an option. Millennials want to feel they’re moving somewhere, being challenged. Millennials love change, so mix it up for them. Also keep in mind that a millennial’s timeframe for accomplishing goals is 18 months or less – anything beyond that is incomprehensible.
  8. Provide frequent feedback. Millennials have a need for instant gratification, which means they’re always on point to deliver rapidly. As a manager, provide frequent feedback to fill this need.
  9. Facilitate collaboration and creativity. Create an environment — both through location and culture — for collaboration. On the culture side, managers should encourage staff members to propose alternatives and new ways of doing things. From a physical standpoint, agencies should create smaller interaction spaces (a cozy conference room versus a 20-person boardroom).
  10. Offer individual recognition. While collaborative approaches are meaningful, millennials still expect and want individual attribution. They will embrace the challenge of an individual task that is an essential part of a larger team-oriented project. When they are successful, call them out for a job well done. This is very important.
  11. Create a work environment that is conducive to work-life balance. This is one of the things this young generation desires most. Emphasize benefits like PTO. Improving the quality of life both in and out of the office — with social events, benefits, and flexible schedules — will appeal to people looking for more than just a salary. It’s what many progressive companies are doing.
  12. Avoid an excessively rigorous hiring process. Millennials are informal. Your agency may be weeding out high-potential millennials on a regular basis. It might be a good idea to loosen things up a bit. In place of the usual two-or three-round interviews, you can hold informal professional development classes, conduct informational sessions, or show potential candidates around the facilities. Host open days. Through these, you can let the candidates decide for themselves whether they fit your company’s culture or not.

Agencies Speak Out on Biometrics

14 Agencies Describe How They Use Biometric Fingerprint Readers for Time & Attendance for Staff and Clients

Not long ago, very few agencies would have used biometric fingerprint readers in day programs, let alone group homes. Today, all that has changed. The current range of biometric fingerprint readers are affordable, deliver a quick return-on-investment, are suitable for use in three- to four-bed group homes, and have many advantages over other time and attendance methods, such as a PCs and telephone timekeeping.

These interviews will help you learn more about the pros and cons, implementation challenges, and the many benefits of biometrics based on how other providers are currently using them. Hear the responses from managers and administrators, as well as employees about the enrollment and training processes for biometrics that they have gone through.

These providers are using biometric fingerprint readers in day programs, group homes, and at contract job sites. Biometric fingerprint readers are primarily used by staff, but some providers encourage clients to use biometric fingerprint readers as well.

The Ron Wilson Center, Oregon

The Ron Wilson Center is a private non-profit agency in the Monmouth, Oregon area founded in 1974 by a group of parents, students, and concerned citizens. The Ron Wilson Center is the oldest agency of this type in Polk County and is a leader and innovator in providing services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The agency currently serves about 65 individuals in a variety of programs that include residential (24-hour staffed care), supported living, and day support activities.

The Ron Wilson Center was using MITC Telephone Timekeeping before setting up the biometric fingerprint readers. A primary reason for the switch was a concern for timesheet fraud, as Poppitz, Accounting Services Director at The Ron Wilson Center explains, “We felt there might have been some buddy punching with the telephone timekeeping system, but now with the biometric fingerprint readers in place, we know the staff has to be there in order to clock in, eliminating any chance of buddy punching.”

The Ron Wilson Center has 16 group homes with three to five clients each. The agency used a try and buy terms for the first batch, staggering the implementation of biometric fingerprint readers in three groups. After purchasing the system in January of 2017, they installed the first batch in five group homes in February of 2017, the second set of five were added in March, and they are getting ready to do the last six now. “The conversion went smoothly. The hardest part as a larger organization was capturing all the employees,” Loralee says.

Loralee tells us that the biometric fingerprint readers have worked out well so far, noting, “It was easier to install them in the homes a few at a time, and it was more cash flow-effective to spread out the expense. It seems to have gone very well. The first time IT had to set up the first five machines, we had to call MITC and ask a few questions, but it went smoothly. We registered employees’ fingerprints into the biometric fingerprint readers when employees came to pick up their paychecks and then went to the group homes to catch the few employees we missed. We now have all but 15 employees entered; we have 175 employees, so 160 are set up.”

Loralee found a clever way to help employees learn this new way of clocking in, “We sent out fliers to the group homes and posted a cheat sheet we got from MITC next to all of the biometric fingerprint readers. This is our third month using it and it seems to be working fairly well.”

The enrollment and training process for new employees as well as existing ones can be intimidating for some providers, especially larger agencies like The Ron Wilson Center. Integrating enrollment as a part of new hire training is a common method agencies use, as Loralee discovered, telling us, “We enroll new employees as part of their new hire orientation. The very first day of training, I set the new hires up in the biometrics and the new hires use biometric fingerprint readers all through training.”

The results have been mostly positive, Loralee tells us, “So far, most people are able to use the biometric fingerprint readers and not have an issue. Sometimes people have to warm up their finger in order for a scan to be established. Another minor issue is if their finger is wet or if we have rain, they have to dry their hand off. That’s been the only capture issue we’ve had. Usually one finger works.”

As far as power and internet connectivity issues, Loralee tells us that, “We had the internet go down in one of our homes, but not the power. The biometric fingerprint reader still captured the punches. When we got the internet back up, it transferred all the punches.”

East End Disability Associates, New York

East End Disability Associates (EEDA) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that provides support and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As a grassroots agency, EEDA was organized in 1992 by a small group of parents who were active advocates for their children and believed that everyone has the right to fully participate in quality education, medical, habilitation, and recreational services. To that end, EEDA secured funding to create programs of excellence that promote life enhancement for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities of all ages. Today, EEDA provides services to over 700 individuals and continues to be managed by the same group of parents who started the organization.

The use of biometric fingerprint readers at EEDA has grown significantly just in the past year, as Dan Bogan, System Administrator at EEDA explains, “East End Disabilities started out using just one biometric fingerprint reader a few years ago, and used only one for a while. We have now expanded the use of biometric fingerprint readers to four locations, and are rolling out one a month to new locations.” East End Disabilities plans to use biometrics at 12 sites in total. Currently, two biometric fingerprint readers are installed in day habilitation facilities, two in residential facilities, and one in the main office. Dan says the additional biometrics they are looking to install will be in residential as well as crisis house locations.

Dan cites ease-of-use and reliability as the reasons for expanding their use of biometrics, saying, “The biometric fingerprint readers are easier and quicker to use for staff to clock in and out. East End Disabilities has many locations where a lot of staff have to clock in in a short amount of time. There is limited access to telephones at some sites, and while dialing in is quick with the phone, biometric fingerprint readers are faster. We have had electrical issues which can interfere with our server. The biometric fingerprint readers store punches until the server is back up and auto-polls for the punches, guaranteeing that time is being tracked accurately automatically.”

When it comes to achieving their goals with biometrics, Dan says, “Our expectations have been met. Clocking in and out is quick and easy for employees. We had one issue but it was not caused by the biometric fingerprint readers. Our IP address wasn’t static and changed, but all I had to do was go in and reset the IP address. We have not had any other issues.”

The adoption of biometric technology has resulted in a few new procedures at EEDA that have actually streamlined enrollment for new employees, as Dan explains, “East End Disabilities was enrolling new employees at the sites, but in the past week we have changed our policy. Now, HR enrolls new employees at the main office while they’re going through orientation. The enrolled employees’ fingerprints are then shared with the biometric fingerprint readers automatically at all of the locations.”

It seems the implementation of biometrics has been an overall success for East End Disabilities. Dan extols the benefits, saying, “The biometric fingerprint readers are very good. They save a lot of time for employees clocking in and out, and there are fewer missed punches.”

Hands of Heartland, Nebraska

Hands of Heartland is dedicated to growing new opportunities for adults with physical and intellectual disabilities, as well as the staff who work with them each day providing day, residential, and respite services.

Hands of Heartland have used biometric fingerprint readers for time and attendance since September of 2015. Trina Leech, HR Director at Hands of Heartland explains where biometrics have been most effective, telling us, “About 70 employees are using biometric fingerprint readers in our day service areas, which has the highest concentration of staff. It’s a quick and accurate way to get a large number of people processed in and out at the beginning and end of the day. We also eliminated buddy punching with this change.”

In addition to eliminating the risks of paper timesheets, the payroll process at Hands of Heartland has been streamlined as well since switching to biometrics, as Trina explains, “MITC has helped our payroll process by saving supervisors time. The biometric fingerprint readers have helped that process because supervisors can quickly identify if a staff member has not properly clocked in and out. Previously, we used paper timesheets and supervisors manually calculated time worked for 200 total employees. We’ve saved approximately 20 hours per pay period and we are running payroll twice a month.”

Trina details the process Hands of Heartland used in implementing biometrics, saying, “We started with one biometric fingerprint reader and after seeing the results, we added a second one. We have two major day centers operations on one campus. The second scanner also cut down on staff wasting time walking to other buildings.”

Hands of Heartland have found the biometric fingerprint readers to be reliable, encountering very few problems, as Trina tells us, “We have had no problem beyond people forgetting.” Trina says that Hands of Heartland uses the process of enrolling new employees as a training session as well, explaining, “When an employee is hired, we enter them in MITC. Then we go down to the center with the new hire and scan their fingerprint to register them. We walk through the process with them in terms of when they need to clock in and out and which buildings are equipped with biometric fingerprint readers.”

Although Hands of Heartland have encountered minimal issues when implementing their biometrics system, they have had a few employees who had trouble using the readers, as Trina explains, “We have two semi-retired employees who are not using their fingerprint with the biometric readers due to skin condition and dexterity. We have given them the ability to enter their Employee PIN instead.  We had one employee who was looking for an exception and said the biometric fingerprint readers wouldn’t work for her because her fingernails were too long. In this instance, the employee was told her she had to cut their fingernails. Afterwards, she didn’t have any problem at all with the biometric reader.”

Trina tells us that overall, biometrics have worked very well and the switch to MITC was a worthwhile expense, saying, “It was an investment to go from paper timesheets to time and attendance, but it has paid off. We are now looking to add other modules like Scheduling. We hope Scheduling will help our ability to control overtime hours and staff to client ratios.”

While contemplating how MITC has improved the payroll process and efficiency at the agency, Trina reveals, “I wish I would have done this earlier. You wouldn’t believe the difference it’s made in processing payroll. It has significantly eliminated errors. Prior to MITC, we would have 10–15 employees a pay period with errors. I no longer have people coming to my office with issues. Employees are required to sign off on the hours they worked. If the employee later claims they weren’t paid properly, we point out that they approved their time. If there is a verified error on the employee’s part, the hours will be paid as retro-pay on their next check. It has also saved time for supervisors, who are checking MITC on a daily basis and are able to wrap up any corrections within 48 hours of a pay period ending. This allows them to focus more of their attention on other tasks.”

Often, agencies that have had a negative experience with a previous system can be weary to try something different, as Trina tells us, “Our initial resistance was fueled by a failed implementation with another vendor years before, which created a lot of hesitation. But once we got the hang of it, it wasn’t as onerous as they feared and we got them to buy in.” Since implementing biometrics, Trina found that supervisors who were the most reluctant to the transition at first are now the happiest. “The supervisors say they have so much time to do other things now. This is no big deal, five minutes a day,” Trina tells us.

MITC has found that a time & attendance system will achieve higher compliance levels if known and effective policies and procedures are put in place, as Trina learned firsthand, “I met with each supervisor to go over the process and helped them with a payroll or two. It was a little bit of hand holding up front but it paid off. A lot of the supervisors are truly caregivers at heart and so this technology is somewhat scary, but they now have the confidence they needed to take off with it. With the supervisors on top of it, employees get on top of it because they don’t want to be the person with several corrections in a pay period.”

The agency also uses incentive programs to encourage staff to properly use the system. “In our day centers, if employees go an entire month without corrections, they get a $10 gift card. That program is going to get expensive soon, but it got us a lot of buy in and we’ve had no problems with new employees,” Trina explains that, “One employee told me our system was different because they aren’t scanning anything other than their finger. People who previously used the telephone to clock in like the biometric better.”

North Star Community Services, Iowa

Since 1975, North Star Community Services, a non-profit rehabilitative services agency serving Northeast Iowa and beyond, has been helping adults with a wide range of disabilities live enriched and empowered lives in the community by providing adult day services, employment services, and supported community living services.

North Star Community Services implemented biometric fingerprint readers approximately two years ago, and currently have between 35–40 employees using biometrics in their day hab programs. Bridget Hartman, Director of HR at North Star explains that, “Employees enjoy using the biometric fingerprint readers in the day programs, as we a lot of employees that start and end their shift around the same time. The biometric fingerprint readers allow employees to clock in and out more quickly than telephone timekeeping.”

While employees had some resistance when they were first installed, the staff eventually came to appreciate the convenience of the biometrics during a temporary absence of them, as Bridget explains, “When we recently had to send the biometric fingerprint readers in to have the prisms replaced. The employees complained about having to use telephone timekeeping and missed the faster process with the biometric fingerprint readers.”

Biometrics has proven to be more convenient for North Star employees, as Bridget tells us, “On a new employee’s first day of work, one of our HR staff will help them register their fingerprint set-up into the biometric. We have MITC set up so employees’ lunches are automatically deducted if an employee works at least a 7-hour shift. Rather than having to walk to other side of the building to clock in and out and using some of their break time, we instead are able to automatically account for a lunch break with MITC without the employee having to clock in and out. If an employee skips their lunchbreak, they inform a supervisor and we are able to override with a manual process.”

As we have heard from other agencies, long fingernails posed a problem for some North Star employees, but Bridget explains that the issues were easily resolved, saying, “The only issues we have experienced are with employees who have salon-type nails. The nails end up damaging the biometric fingerprint readers. Over time, this damages the prism on the biometric fingerprint readers where employees place their finger to clock in and out. We recently had to replace both prisms in our biometric fingerprint readers, but MITC came to the rescue and replaced the prisms in a timely matter without any complications.”

Also, similarly to the other agencies we spoke with, North Star found biometrics to be an effective solution for saving employees’ time and increasing the accuracy of their payroll. Bridget tells us that in this respect, biometrics have met their expectations, adding, “We would recommend biometric fingerprint readers to any agency that has a large group of employees, even if you already have another time and attendance system in place. Our goal was to speed up the amount of time employees spent clocking in and out while getting an accurate record of employee attendance. The biometric fingerprint readers have achieved that goal.”

On My Own, Missouri

On My Own, Inc. was founded on February 1, 1997 to assist individuals with disabilities. As a non-profit, non-residential independent living center, On My Own provides services to Bates, Cedar, Hickory, St. Clair, and Vernon Counties with offices in Nevada and Collins.

The Missouri-based agency has been using biometric fingerprint readers for three years, with 26 office staff using biometrics to clock in and out. Prior to the biometric fingerprint readers, On My Own didn’t have a system in place for office staff, as Patti Hendrix, CFO at On My Own explains, “We wanted an onsite system that guaranteed employees were present.”

As we’ve seen with many of the other agencies we spoke to, the only issues On My Own experienced while implementing biometrics were isolated cases where the biometric was unable to read particular fingerprints. Patti explains that, “About five individuals have consistent problems, but it will randomly happen with other staff. For the most part, our communication between the office and uploads and downloads to the system has been accurate and timely.”

In regards to the agency’s enrollment and training process, Patti tells us that, “On My Own has an employee orientation and explains how the procedure works just to give a little detail. We also added a part to the employee training where we require new employees to practice using the biometric fingerprint readers. We include that with the rest of the training on how to use MITC.”

Another benefit Patti found in using biometrics was reduced overtime throughout the agency. “Biometric fingerprint readers have kept a better control on overtime. We have found employees working when not scheduled and have eliminated those issues. MITC also helps us with payroll.”

Patti found that biometrics were a great fit for their agency, saying, “The biometric fingerprint readers have worked out pretty well. It’s been good. The biometric readers are fairly easy for On My Own to administer and for people to use.”

When compared to other timekeeping methods, Patti agrees that biometrics surpass them all in terms of ease-of-use, saying, “Biometric fingerprint readers definitely help track time, especially as opposed to paper timesheets. Scanning a finger is easy. It just becomes a habit!”

The Arc Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The Arc Baton Rouge was founded in 1950 from a grassroots movement of families working to create services for children and adults who were being denied day care, educational opportunities, and work programs. Today, The Arc Baton Rouge is one of 19 affiliated Louisiana chapters and nearly 700 nationwide providing individual and public policy advocacy, residential and housing supports, educational assistance, vocational training, and employment solutions and recreational activities to promote health & wellness.

One reason many agencies select biometric fingerprint readers is that they can be used by clients with certain disabilities, and actually encourages their independence, as Jenny Bulkley, Time & Attendance Specialist at The Arc Baton Rouge discovered, “We purchased one biometric fingerprint reader in March 2016 for selected clients to use. We use telephone timekeeping for everyone else, but we felt biometric fingerprint readers were easier for the clients. The clients we serve have a wide range of abilities and aptitudes. The ones who can use the biometric fingerprint readers love it. The biometric fingerprint readers give them more autonomy. The clients love to come and put their fingerprint on the scanner or enter their employee number, and benefit from the feeling of independence it gives them.”

MITC allows agencies to mix and match timekeeping methods depending on the program they are used in, as Jenny explains, “We use the biometric fingerprint readers for state contract clients. In our vocational program, using tablets with Door Clock is easier. We chose to use Door Clock in the vocational program because our clients have greater disabilities; some have hands that are retracted or limited intellectual capabilities. These clients had difficulty getting fingerprints to work.”

This ability to utilize a mix biometrics, telephone timekeeping, and Door Clock has been a huge advantage for The Arc Baton Rouge, as Jenny tells us, “Telephone timekeeping and tablets work wonderfully for us. We haven’t had issues with biometric fingerprint readers. The only issue with biometric fingerprint readers is that we need one for each company.”

As the agency continues to discover more benefits of the biometrics, Jenny tells us of future plans to expand the system, saying, “We use the biometric fingerprint readers with state contract clients. The clients enjoy it. Now our director wants to use biometric fingerprint readers for administrative employees. The Arc Baton Rouge will have to get another reader because the biometric fingerprint readers can’t support two companies from one device.”

Jenny has found that the biometric fingerprint readers are very easy to use for almost everyone at the agency, “For most people they take only a few seconds. We love that employees don’t have to pick up and call as with telephone timekeeping. There is such a slim margin for error because there is nothing for the employee to enter. With telephone timekeeping, it is possible that employees enter the wrong job or the wrong code. The only issue we have experienced with the biometric fingerprint readers is that they cannot be used by individuals with a hand-related medical condition.”

Though implementing a new technology can often be met with apprehension, Jenny was reassured by the training she received through MITC’s services department, saying, “Everything was relatively easy. When I first opened the box, it was a little intimidating, but I love working with MITC. The support people are great. I only needed to go over everything in training one time before I had it down.”

Most importantly, biometrics have helped the agency achieve its’ goals and improve the quality of life for the individuals it serves, as Jenny puts it, “Because biometric fingerprint readers increase the autonomy of our employees, it helps us with our mission of encouraging independence.”

Northern Transition, Michigan

Northern Transitions, Inc. is a private non-profit Michigan agency providing a wide range of vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with a variety of barriers to employment residing in the eastern Upper Peninsula. SourceAmerica contacts employ 50 of those individuals. Services include evaluation, supported employment, community placement, and numerous types of employment within the organization for individuals who require a high level of continued support.

Northern Transitions have been using biometric fingerprint readers for approximately two years. They currently have about 50 employees (staff and clients) using the biometric fingerprint readers. Joel Krupa, Executive Director at Northern Transitions explains the enrollment process to us, saying, “We enroll the new employee in the biometric fingerprint reader at their worksite. We don’t use a central location to register our employee’s fingerprints, as employees in the main area only work at one location. The enrollment occurs on their first day when their shift starts; a supervisor assists and facilitates the enrolling process. There are rare occasions where this process gets delayed by a day or two, but the normal procedure is that they get into the system on their orientation day.”

The main reasons why the agency chose biometric fingerprint readers over telephone timekeeping was a lack of phone service and internet at their contract sites. Joel explains, “The biometric fingerprint readers Northern Transitions uses don’t require an internet connection or phone lines for the biometric fingerprint reader to work. All it requires is a USB drive. Supervisors download the clock-ins and outs using a thumb drive. No internet connection is used.”

The agency currently has two biometric fingerprint readers installed. Joel tells us, “We used to use swipe terminals. One is located at a SourceAmerica contract site at the international border station in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. It’s essential to have one there because we can’t have internet there due to regulations. We had a phone line there but removed it due to it not being a necessity, since everyone nowadays has cell phones; and we don’t need a phone line for the biometric fingerprint reader to work. Our other location is at our recycling center that we operate.”

Joel says that the biometrics have been easy for everyone to use. “We only had one incident where the person trying to register their fingerprint into the biometric fingerprint reader couldn’t get their fingerprint scanned, so we just have that person using their 4-digit PIN for clocking in and out. Other than that, the biometric fingerprint readers are pretty simple to use. The results are less missed/wrong punches being entered,” he said.

Implementing biometrics at Northern Transitions was an overall success, as Joel tells us, “The biometric fingerprint readers have worked out great for Northern Transitions. I am quite happy with them. The only issue we have had so far with the biometric fingerprint reader has been with one employee who wasn’t able to have their fingerprint read, but that’s the only usage problem that we have had. There was an issue when one of the biometric fingerprint reader prisms became detached from the fingerprint scanner. We alerted MITC, and they got it fixed and sent back to us in a timely matter. While the biometric fingerprint reader was getting fixed, we used one of our old swipe terminals that we had some extras of because we still use them at some other locations, but we prefer the biometric fingerprint readers.”

Joel believes the agency’s payroll costs would likely be higher without the biometric fingerprint readers. “If you use paper timesheets at your agency, there is a possibility for a lot of inaccurate times. If you had multiple individuals on any given day leaving work at 3:20 or 3:25 when their shift would end at 3:30 and claiming to be leaving on time, it would all add up to a loss. The preciseness of the biometric fingerprint readers eliminates this issue,” Joel claims.

The benefits of biometrics have been numerous for Northern Transitions, as Joel discovered, “The biometric fingerprint readers are efficient for agencies to use. They aren’t complicated for employees to use. For our model, there isn’t internet or any phone lines required. They help eliminate payroll issues. Also, they are cost-effective for agencies to invest in because the price has come down a lot on the biometric fingerprint readers.” Joel adds, “Northern Transitions enjoys using them and will continue to use them since they meet all of our needs.”

Supportive Concepts for Families, Pennsylvania

Supportive Concepts for Families, Inc. is a large provider of high-quality services and supports for individuals with behavioral health/intellectual and/or developmental disabilities throughout Pennsylvania. The agency manages of number of programs, including residential and family community living, home-based waiver services, supported living, adult training, behavioral health, and transportation.

Supportive Concepts has been using biometric fingerprint readers for several years for time and attendance. Mark Kellenberger, Vice President of Information Systems at Supportive Concepts explains why they chose biometrics over other timekeeping methods, saying, “Convenience was a big reason. Installing a biometric fingerprint reader in our adult training facility prevented employees being lined up waiting to call in using our telephone timekeeping system or a PC. The biometric fingerprint readers gave the employees the ability to just scan their fingerprint to clock in and out. The second reason is in our group homes where we have the biometric fingerprint readers installed, we are able to eliminate the security issue of employees clocking in for each other (buddy punching) and proving that the person who clocked in is actually at the facility.”

The biometric fingerprint readers have worked well for Supportive Concepts, and looking back, Mark recalled only one issue that has come up, saying, “In one of our group homes, it is on an old Verizon DSL line and the circuit is unreliable, but other than that the biometric fingerprint readers have worked out and are generally available.”

As for implementing the new technology, Mark told us, “The initial challenge was training supervisors how to enroll employee fingerprints into the biometric fingerprint readers, but that seems to be a non-issue now. There is the occasional problem of an employee’s finger not being readable, but all things considered, they’re pretty low maintenance.”

Employee enrollment on the biometrics fingerprint readers at Supportive Concepts was also fairly painless. “Since everything flows into the database, there are a couple of different ways for us to enroll an employee. We can have the employees register their fingers at their work site or at the central office, but recently we’ve had our employees just scan their fingerprints at their respective work sites,” Mark explains.

Mark says that having the biometric fingerprint readers installed has had an effect that reverberates throughout the organization. “Our people know that we check, so I believe that there is some downstream effect where employees are aware that we have biometric fingerprint readers installed in some houses, and even though they don’t have them installed in their workplace, they do what their supposed to do in regards to being honest about clocking in and out.”

He concludes that, “In the right situation, biometric fingerprint readers are really worth it. Where we get the biggest return on our investment is at our adult training facility because we have a large number of employees clocking in and out around the same time and the biometric readers are excellent for that type of situation. In the smaller homes, we don’t have a large number of employees coming in at the same time, but having that security factor is vital.”

Center for Life Enrichment, Maryland

Since 1963, The Center for Life Enrichment has provided programs and support services to increase the vocational and personal potential of individuals with disabilities in Maryland. Currently, the agency serves over 200 individuals through supported employment, community learning services, day habilitation, and family and individual support programs.

Center for Life Enrichment implemented biometric fingerprint readers as soon as they partnered with MITC, which was approximately six years ago. They currently have four biometric fingerprint readers between two stores. 130 employees use biometric fingerprint readers and swipe card readers and 20 of their clients only use biometric fingerprint readers.

Randy Ferguson, Executive Director at Center for Life Enrichment explains why biometrics was the best choice for the agency, “We have locations out in the community with many employees. We thought biometric fingerprint readers at the stores would be the best solution for our needs.”

Like many other agencies we spoke to, Center for Life Enrichment was previously using paper timesheets, which was vulnerable to fraud and errors. “Before installing the biometric fingerprint readers, we had employees signing in and out on paper timesheets. This method lacked visibility into when workers were present, and we knew it was a possibility employees were being dishonest about what time they actually arrived and left for the day. Installing biometrics made the employees’ time undisputable and completely eliminated inaccurate timesheets from our stores,” Randy tells us.

The results have been positive, as Randy explains, “Now that Center for Life Enrichment is using biometric fingerprint readers to verify time & attendance electronically, we know exactly when our employees and clients arrive and leave from the stores. The fact that time is undisputable is very beneficial.”

Aside from a few instances of skin care products interfering with the reader, Center for Life Enrichment has had no problems. “The only issue we experience is when our employees put lotion or some other type of beauty product that covers their fingers; it rubs off on to the prism and creates a shadow, which will sometime affect the next employee trying to use the biometric fingerprint reader to clock in or out. Other than that, the biometric fingerprint readers have been reliable and easy to use,” Randy says.

According to Randy, training and compliance haven’t been a problem for Center for Life Enrichment, “On a new employees’ first day of orientation, we scan their fingerprints into the system. It is a part of the new hire procedure on day one. Center for Life Enrichment hasn’t had any issues getting employees to use the fingerprint readers,” he explained.

The low cost of biometric readers today is another benefit, as it allows agencies with a high number of users to easily afford multiple readers.“ If an agency has a lot of employees/clients, like our stores do, clocking in and out around the same time, there is a huge advantage to having multiple biometric fingerprint readers. This facilitates faster clocking in and out when many employees arrive or leave at the same time, and prevents employees having to wait in line for their fellow employees to be finished on the reader,” Randy discovered.

Once employees began using biometric fingerprint readers, Center for Life Enrichment also observed another benefit, as Randy tells us, “We have noticed tardiness has been reduced. Employees can no longer dispute whether they were on time with the biometric fingerprint readers, compared to when paper timesheets were in place. This prevents our employees from being paid for a full shift when they arrived late or left early without notifying their supervisor.”

In addition, employee attitudes have shifted in a positive direction as a result of the biometrics. “Since installing the biometric fingerprint readers, we have noticed the employees previously coming in late and claiming to be on time are now showing up as scheduled. Partial absenteeism (late arrivals) has declined,” Randy proclaims.

After considering life before switching to biometrics, Randy believes, “Our payroll costs would be higher if we had not invested in biometric fingerprint readers.”

Advantages of Southeast Arkansas, Inc., Arkansas

Advantages of Southeast Arkansas, Inc. provides community-based services geared toward maximizing independence, self-support, employment opportunities, and normal living for persons with developmental disabilities in a 14-county service area. The agency manages HCBS, transportation, preschool, community waiver, adult day treatment, therapy, supported living, and family support programs.

Advantages has approximately 85 employees using biometric fingerprint readers. The agency has biometric fingerprint readers installed in pre-schools and adult development programs. In total, they have six biometric fingerprint readers between four of their center-based services. New hire employees are enrolled into the biometric fingerprint readers on their first day of work. This process is done at their respective work sites.

When asked why they chose biometrics over other timekeeping methods, Deanna Doherty, Executive Director at Advantages tells us, “We noticed that biometric fingerprint readers were cost-efficient and would eliminate potential problems with time and attendance. Before implementing biometric fingerprint readers, all of our timekeeping was done on pen and paper. Paper timesheets gave employees the opportunity to be dishonest with what times they would write down on their timesheets. Having the biometric fingerprint readers eliminated timesheet falsification and provides security, especially in cases where one employee clocks in or out for another employee (buddy punching).”

Deanna says that Advantages has thoroughly enjoyed having the biometric fingerprint readers and found them to be very reliable. However, she notes that, “The only real issue we have experienced with the biometric fingerprint readers is that our employees who do a lot of paperwork often damage their fingers through paper cuts, and employees that work in our cafeteria will sometimes get burns that cause them to have a distorted fingerprint. The biometric fingerprint readers won’t be able to get a clear scan on their fingers. But overall, we haven’t experienced any major issues with the readers themselves”.

Like many agencies switching from paper timesheets to biometric fingerprint readers, Deanna thinks Advantages has experienced a reduction in payroll costs as well, revealing, “We believe that payroll costs would be higher, especially if we would’ve kept our old system of pen and paper in place. The employees were on the honor system for clocking in and out when they started their shift and marking down the actual time they entered the workplace. The biometric fingerprint readers helped us eliminate guess-work for our office staff when it came to knowing when our employees were arriving and departing the building.”

Deanna adds, “We really enjoy having that extra layer of accountability for our employees and that reliability for our staff.”

Genesis Group Homes, Minnesota

Genesis Group Homes (GGH) offers residential care to developmentally and intellectually disabled individuals located throughout the northwest of Hennepin County. They have 150 staff using the biometric readers in 16 group homes, with another location opening soon.

Gensis Group Homes enrolls new hires in the main office and the system automatically distributes the fingerprints to all the fingerprint readers so the employees can clock in at any group home the staff are scheduled to go work.

Greg Gunderson, COO at Genesis Group Homes tells us why the agency initially chose to use biometrics, saying, “We switched to biometric fingerprint readers from PC/web clock to gain greater aaccountability, accuracy, dependability, and ease-of-use. We opted not to use PC/web clock.”

Greg continues, “Our objectives were to eliminate buddy punching, eliminate shared passwords to get greater accuracy, ease-of-use for the staff, and quicker clock in and out.”

Greg has a couple of tips for other agencies considering using biometric fingerprint readers, “Assure your internet provider has a static IP address assigned to each site in advance. Anticipate a bump in turnover during implementation. We experienced it. Not everyone wanted to be honest about their time!”

Arc of Mercer County, Pennsylvania

For over 60 years, the Arc of Mercer County (MCAR) has helped people with intellectual and developmental disabilities develop their potential, realize their ambitions, and achieve their goals. MCAR provides employment, vocational training, housing, family living, older adult care, transitioning, habilitation, and recreation programs.

Like many agencies, the Arc of Mercer County wanted to eliminate buddy punching, eliminate any possibility of sharing passwords, improve accuracy, make clocking in and out easier, and maximize the speed of clock ins at their day programs.

Katie Bodien, IT Director at MCAR tells us where and how the agency gets the most out of biometrics, saying, “The Arc of Mercer County was one of the first agencies to utilize the new generation of biometric fingerprint readers. We have expanded their use over time. Now we have 25 biometric fingerprint readers installed in day programs and group homes.”

The fact that biometric fingerprint readers do not rely on an internet connection is clearly a prevailing benefit to many agencies, “When the internet goes down, the employees can still clock in and out, and no data is lost,” Katie explains.

ESR Inc., Minnesota & Wisconsin

Since 1964, ESR Inc., a private non-profit agency, has supported adults with developmental disabilities and other special needs by helping them integrate into the larger community and gain meaningful employment. In 2014, ESR’s services expanded to residents of St. Croix County, WI, which increased the number of people they serve to almost 500 each year.

ESR has been using biometric fingerprint readers for time and attendance since December 2016. Koni Thomas, Director of Admin Services at ESR tells us the factors they considered in deciding to use biometric fingerprint readers were staff accountability and ease-of-use. He explains, “Our main objectives were to eliminate buddy punching & timesheet fraud, the risk of staff sharing passwords, and to increase accuracy and speed of clock-in.”

At locations where timesheet security is at a premium, such as day programs, biometric terminals have proved far more reliable than paper timesheets. At ESR, “The employees were using paper timesheets before. Now all 120 employees use five biometric fingerprint readers installed in the day program locations,” according to Koni.

ESR encountered only a few employees who had problems using the biometrics, “There a couple of staff who intermittently have problems with their fingerprints being read. Two staff members have been deleted and re-entered multiple times and now have a PIN set-up to use. We enroll new hires on their second day of employment following the instructions from MITC,” Koni tells us.

Again, Koni discovered that the lack of dependence on an internet connection was a huge advantage in regards to reliability, saying, “The internet sometimes goes down, but the biometric fingerprint readers stay working even without a connection.”

Cornerstone Valley, Oregon

Cornerstone Valley provides 24-hour services to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and manages group homes as well. Cornerstone Valley has been using biometric readers for several years.

Biometric fingerprint readers were first installed two weeks after the agency opened. Currently, a total of 60 employees use six biometric fingerprint readers. Cornerstone Valley has five residential locations where they provide services at, and each of those locations have their own biometric fingerprint reader. They also have a biometric fingerprint reader in their administrative office, which is used by all of their salaried staff, such as computer specialists, accountants, directors, managers, or anyone else working in that building.

Carly Smith, Associate Director at Cornerstone Valley tells us how the agency had always envisioned using biometrics as their main timekeeping method. “We knew that the agency would grow and we would eventually want to have employees signing in electronically instead of on paper timesheets. I had previously worked in an agency that used MITC telephone timekeeping, which had worked well for them. When we heard about MITC’s biometric fingerprint readers, we knew installing them would be a fantastic idea. We didn’t want to switch over systems once the agency started expanding. We decided to start with biometric fingerprint readers instead of another system. Apart from the first two weeks of the agency opening where we used paper timesheets, we have always used biometric fingerprint readers.”

Carly’s experience with MITC at her previous agency helped her feel confident in its ability to deliver a quality system that would fit the agency’s needs. “We wanted a reliable and accurate system in place at our agency. Having previously used MITC’s Telephone Timekeeping at another agency, we knew that we could trust them to deliver a system that would meet all of our time and attendance needs, while also preventing buddy punching and inaccurate punches of any kind.”

As we’ve seen time and time again, reliability is a significant factor for agencies seeking a time & attendance solutions. In biometrics, Cornerstone Valley found a dependable timekeeping method, even when there’s no internet connection. “When the internet goes down, the biometric fingerprint readers still work, employees still clock in. We only run into this issue every so often, but when we do, the biometric fingerprint readers provide the data once the internet is up and running again.”

Carly tells us that she found biometrics to be reliable and haven’t experienced any issues related to the readers themselves, saying, “Early on, we had some issues with emphasizing to the employees on how to properly press their fingers into the biometric fingerprint readers, so an accurate scan could be established. But after that short trial and error period, we haven’t experienced any significant issues.”

When it comes to the biometric fingerprint readers, training employees has been fairly easy for Cornerstone Valley, as Carly explains, “We start the new hire enrollment process very early on when we have new hires coming on board, during their new hire training, once their paperwork is complete. Our accountant takes the new employee’s information and enters it into MITC. Once the new hire’s information has been processed into MITC, my accountant will let me know, and then my services director or I will get the employee’s fingerprint scanned into the biometric fingerprint readers. This whole process takes place at our administration building. We can distribute the fingerprints to all the biometric fingerprint readers at all our group homes automatically.”

As the agency continues to grow, Carly foresees an increased use of biometrics in order to accommodate additional locations in the near future. “We will continue to add more biometric fingerprint readers at each of our new programs and at new residential sites. If we expand our office space, we will also install biometric fingerprint readers there.”

For smaller agencies like Cornerstone Valley, it’s in their best interest to use an uncomplicated system. Carly tells us that, “The biometric fingerprint readers are minimally ‘techy.’ I am someone who wouldn’t be too eager on handling a new technological advancement unless I really needed to. These biometric fingerprint readers are on the low end of requiring one to be tech-savvy; which makes them easy to use. We’re a small agency with no IT department to assist us if a complicated system was put into place. Installing the biometric fingerprint readers from the beginning was a smooth process, and we have had very minor issues since installation. Cornerstone Valley really enjoys having the biometric fingerprint readers.”

Carly has found that employees and administrators alike love the fact that their time is collected and sent to payroll accurately with biometrics, saying, “They really simplify things for us. I know my employees appreciate how accurate the times are, especially when it comes to them being paid down to the minute, instead of their times being rounded. I would highly recommend installing biometric fingerprint readers at any agency.”