As reported in USA Today last month, a Wisconsin company is offering its employees microchip implants that can be used to purchase food at work, and access the building and their computers all with a scan of their hand.
Three Square Market – or 32M – sells mini “micro markets” (think of an airport kiosk with everything from chips to Band-Aids) globally. More than 50 employees elected to have the rice-size chip implanted between the thumb and forefinger, which uses Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID).
OK, now I’m curious, so I consulted with Wikipedia (sorry, Siri). RFID uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically stored information. Passive tags collect energy from a nearby RFID reader’s interrogating radio waves. Active tags have a local power source, such as a battery, and may operate at hundreds of meters from the RFID reader.
RFID tags are currently used in many industries. For example, a tag attached to an automobile during production can be used to track its progress through the assembly line; RFID-tagged pharmaceuticals can be tracked through warehouses; and implanting RFID microchips in livestock and pets allows for positive identification of animals. But people? Apparently so.
My thoughts? As long as the implanted chip is not mandatory and there is no GPS tracking, go for it, companies. Your workforce is multigenerational, which means your people have different wants and needs. If leveraging RFID in your business makes your employees feel proud to work for a tech-savvy company or for a progressive leadership team, fabulous.
BE AWESOME! While all sorts of uses are possible for the RFID, whether it is culturally acceptable to insert technology beneath your employee’s skin is another matter. If you think it is, a simple Google search will yield RFID options for your company based on your industry. For in the words of George Bernard Shaw, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She was recently named a Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth. Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.