Basics of establishing an employee ID badging system

From photos to badge design and ensuring HR buy-in, here's what you need to know

• Badge distribution. Don't print the cards immediately, just focus on taking photos. Printing them all at the same time at a future date and then distributing by department will limit workday disruption.

• Provide instructions. When you issue badges, provide a one-page FAQ sheet which includes things like not covering their photo with a sticker, hanging the badge from their rear-view mirror, or using it as an ice scraper.

• Replacement cost. Consider a policy on replacement, not so much to recoup your cost, but as incentive for badge-holders to care for their card. The thought of a $20 replacement fee can often make someone think twice about leaving a badge somewhere. (In some environments, however, this can hurt morale so act on this one based on your corporate culture.)

4. Continuing Process
Human Resources or the Security Department are the two departments typically tasked with the badging process. There are pros and cons to each.

• Human Resources. Some think it's best to have the HR person creating badges, especially if replacement cost is involved. It ensures the step is accomplished as part of the new-hire process and there is some benefit to having a process owner with continuity (think about your turnover rate in HR versus turnover of security guards).

• Security Department. Others think that Security should own all related technology and processes. This particularly makes sense if the ID badging is part of an access control system or tied to a parking pass. On the up side, it requires visitors and employees with lost badges to check in with security before entering the building and you certainly don't want visitors and suppliers to have to go to HR first when they're simply there for a one hour meeting. On the down side, if traffic is heavy it could tie up your security person, creating the opportunity for a security breach.

• Multiple Badging Stations. Depending on volume and budget, it may make sense in your situation to have two badging stations; one located in the Human Resources area for employees, and one at security for anyone needing a temporary badge.

• Temporary Cards. Buy some no-technology plastic (pvc) cards and control them with a numbering system for visitors who don't need photo or access cards. Make a different color for employees who need temporary cards but not replacements. This way you can quickly differentiate between someone who forgot their badge but belongs and someone who may be someplace they shouldn't be.

Whether you're considering it for access control or simply for visual identification, personnel badging is a necessary part of facility security. Don't expect that this one step will fulfill all of your physical security needs, but do recognize the purpose it serves in your overall integration of technology, people, and processes.

About the author: Joy Creasy has been in the Security industry since 1997 as a U.S. Army Military Police Officer, Security Operations Manager, Facility Security Manager, and is now the Director of Training for Tech Systems, Inc., an ISO 9001-Certified Systems Integrator headquartered in Duluth, GA. She can be reached via Tech Systems, online at