It must be recalled that members of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, had initially opposed the biometric data capturing system introduced by the government, and threatened industrial action if the measure was carried out. The union, however, rescinded its decision after reaching fresh agreements with government on Thursday, regarding the payments of the 50 percent salary increases for electricity workers.and
The Federal Government has directed the PHCN management for the first three months of the 50 percent hike in salary, adding “this singular action has cost the entire labour movement an enormous stock of goodwill, as it is so embarrassing and brazen.”I've used this space over and over to contend that the proper measure for the success of a biometric deployment is not perfection; it's return on investment (ROI).
He said that between 30 and 40 percent of the workers in the federal service has been discovered to be fake, since the Federal Government last year directed all ministries, departments and agencies to conduct biometric data verification which entails collection of photographs, thumbprints and staff numbers of employees.
The reason that so many of the early applications of biometric technology to business processes have been in time-and-attendance systems is because the ROI calculation is pretty straightforward.
Applying biometrics to root out ghost workers in the Nigerian electricity industry should deliver a hefty ROI but it is important to realize that every time an organization saves money, someone who used to get paid isn't getting paid (or isn't getting paid as much) any more. In this case, some of the people receiving the salaries of the ghost workers may also be real workers, too, and their legitimate wages may be very low.
This type of arrangement may even have been met tacit acceptance by managers who had no other way to mete out salary increases but it also opens the door to abuse, theft and a loss of managerial control of labor costs.
Fortunately, cleaning up the payroll frees up the resources to make some people whole while severely curtailing large-scale abuse. Without the ROI biometrics affords, there aren't a lot of good options for addressing the problem without killing morale.
Fortunately, most businesses are not faced with a time-and-attendance challenge where 30% of paid staff don't actually exist, but the above example is instructive nonetheless.
Astute managers might consider setting aside some portion of biometric time-and-attendance ROI to smooth the transition from a system that had a little more slack built into it.