Are Employee ID Cards A Good Idea?

Many larger businesses require that their employees walk around with an ID card on them at all times whilst they are at work. Typically worn around their neck on a lanyard, this ensures that only employees have access to all non-public parts of an office or building.

For extra security, some ID cards may have a computer chip embedded within them that has been programmed to allow them access to certain parts of a building, and can be used as a way of monitoring which employees are in a building at any given time (which can be useful in case the building needs to be evacuated in an emergency, for example).

If you have a large office or building, is it a good idea to adopt an ID card system for your employees? And if so, what sort of ID cards should you be implementing? Here is a handy guide to commercial ID cards, to help you decide.


An obvious reason to have an ID card system in place for large offices or buildings is for security. Some companies may employ private security firms to check each employee’s ID card as they pass reception to ensure that they are allowed to enter the building and go about their daily business.

Visitors and contractors for example may also be given a temporary ID card which states the date, their name, and the person whom they are meeting or the department they are to be based in, if they are a contractor.

Encouraging social interaction

In large buildings, ID cards that are worn around a person’s neck will help to distinguish them from the department they work in, and is often used as a way of encouraging social interaction and forging relationships.

People often email other employees that work in different departments if they are required to send or request information on a daily basis, but have not actually met them before. If you had a chance encounter with that person in the staff canteen for example, you could say hello to that person and introduce yourself to them simply by having seen their ID card on their lanyard as you walked past them!


ID card systems are available in many forms, from basic laminated cards to ones with computer chips or magnetic card strips embedded within them that contain your details.

These smart ID cards can be used to determine your exact location within a building, and to restrict your access to certain parts of the building that can only be accessed by certain employees.

Many ID cards also have an employee’s photograph printed on them. Photo ID cards for verification purposes normally have to be updated periodically as people age, just like with driving licence ID cards.

Staff discounts

Sometimes employers may negotiate staff discounts with certain retailers, and in order to receive such benefits the employee will need to prove their entitlement to those savings. Showing their staff ID card ensures that this is made possible.

Image credit: Flickr (wyzik)

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