Recently, Tech Mahindra made an announcement that it would use facial recognition software to mark their employees’ attendance every day. In an exclusive interview with DataQuest, Harshvendra Soin, Chief People Officer, Tech Mahindra, talks a little more about this technology, which has been built in-house by Techmighties, and how it is expected to benefit the company.
Q. What are the Advantages of shifting from swiping cards to facial recognition to mark attendance?
The new attendance system gives employees the freedom of marking their attendance through facial recognition, thereby eliminating the need of the traditional identification cards. This new initiative is in line with Tech Mahindra’s promise to FUTURise internally, and gives employees a connected, pleasant seamless experience of the workplace of the future, by leveraging next generation technologies like Artificial Intelligence.
The Facial Recognition System provides added convenience and aims to achieve unprecedented levels of employee satisfaction and pleasant employee experiences. Besides being AI driven, it ensures a faster, seamless attendance process for employees. Facial Recognition also eliminates the threat of lost ID cards and is much more secure than any other medium.
Q. Our viewers would be very interested to know more about gauging an employee’s mood using the ‘Moodometer’ and how it is expected to benefit the work culture?
The Facial Recognition Attendance System is a huge step forward in our TechM HRNxt journey, which is in line with our TechMNxt charter. Our TechM HRNxt journey is all about enhancing employee experience by leveraging next generation technologies and processes. We believe in the power of the ‘I’, which is the power of an employee.
The Facial Recognition System is a step towards creating a differentiated product for employees to keep them motivated and engaged. The tool would help the organization measure the mood of employees when they use the system through a ‘Moodometer’, which can recognize nine different facial expressions.
It captures the expression of the employees every time he or she uses the system and consolidates the information from all employees daily to create an engagement score, which reflects the mood of the overall workforce. The engagement score can either raise an alarm or hint at some positive action for us.
Organizations generally conduct employee surveys once a year, but this tool will enable Tech Mahindra gauge employee engagement on a daily basis. The whole idea is to make sure that employees have a pleasant day in the office and have a smile on their face which would also uplift the environment in the entire organization and serve a long way in creating the workplace of the future.
Q. Right now this feature is being implemented in the Noida office; will all Tech Mahindra offices follow this trend? By what time is this step expected to be implemented?
With TechM HRNxt, our attempt is to provide the workplace of the future. The Facial Recognition System is just the beginning and we are looking at taking up many more next generation initiatives around the power of ‘Eye’. The initial employee response to the Facial Recognition System has been ecstatic and has been welcomed by all. Going forward, the company plans to roll out the system in other locations as well.
Q. What does taking this step mean in terms of cost for the company?
Under TechM HRNxt, we are continuously looking to develop and invest in a lot of futuristic tech enabled possibilities for the benefit of our employees, which would serve them throughout the entire employee lifecycle.
This is just the beginning of Tech Mahindra’s digital transformation journey and a lot of investment is being made by the organization in new age technologies and processes to develop the workforce of the future and enhance employee experiences. I am extremely proud to say that this application has been built in-house by our very capable Techmighties.
Q. What are the steps being taken to ensure security on implementation of this step? How would the employee data be kept secure?
We are very focused towards having the highest standards of security. Protecting the privacy of each and every associate is our utmost priority. Hence, we have ensured that the images captured through the Facial Recognition Attendance System are deleted on a daily basis after being converted to text. We will also seek an explicit consent from individual employees for both attendance and associate engagement analysis with an option to revoke the consent at any time.
The company is extremely conscious about the protection of privacy and data of its employees. Therefore, the engagement data at aggregate level of location is kept anonymous and only handled by the HR team. Overall, the facial recognition system is a lot more secure than any other channel.