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4 Ways to Help Your Employees Remember Their ID Badges

employee forgetting his ID card.jpg

It's happened to all of us.

You're walking up the stairs at work in the morning, ready to start the day. You might still be half asleep, but you've got your coffee, your lunch bag and you're ready to start the day.

You get to the front door and reach for your employee badge...

"Uh oh."

Then come the familiar steps:

  • Check the other pocket? Nope.
  • What about your back pocket? Nada.
  • Is it in your backpack? No dice.
  • Maybe the car? You took the train today.
  • Did I drop it on the stairs? No.
  • Maybe it's in my shoe? Now you're being ridiculous.

It settles in: you forgot your ID badge!

Don't worry. Everyone forgets. Happens to the best of us.

However, when it comes to ID badges at the workplace, forgetting a badge can cause a variety of problems, both for employees and the employer.

From having someone stuck outside until a fellow employee arrives to the employer having to deal with the potential security issues of an unidentified person walking around the facility, the "I forgot" headaches start to add up.

The easiest solution, obviously, is to help employees stop forgetting their badges. Easier said than done, right?

However, there are steps you can take to help employees remember their credentials, from specific card-carrying accessories to some good, ol' fashioned embarrassment.


Functionality, cell phones and embarrassment: what do they have in common?

Forgetting things is just part of being human. We've got so much stuff going on in our brains that things are bound to slip through the cracks. Better to forget your ID badge than to forget the best route home, right?

The tips below aren't going to completely eliminate the issue of badges being forgotten. Don't expect miracles.

However, they should help lessen the frequency with which employees leave their badges behind, and lessen the time employees spend sheepishly waiting outside the door for help to arrive.


1. Let them choose how they're going to carry it.

Many organizations will issue their employees an ID badge and something to carry it with, like a badge reel or lanyard

This seems like a convenient way to give employees everything they need to carry their card, but ID accessories aren't always a "one type fits all" solution.

Some people think lanyards look silly. Some think strap clips get in their way when they moving around. Others just think badge reels are fun.

Giving your employees options will help make it more likely that they wear the accessory, which in turn makes it more likely that they remember the attached ID badge.

By letting your employees choose how they carry their card, you're eliminating the "I'm not wearing that thing" obstacle right off the bat.

Getting your employees on board with wearing their credentials is a huge step in the right direction toward making that forgotten credentials are a thing of the past.


2. Embarrass them a little (but make sure it's in good fun).

Before this gets taken the wrong way: no, this isn't to suggest a company-wide roast of everyone who forgets their ID badge. No one needs Joan from Operations ripping on Tom the General Manager.

If that happens, no one wins (plus, Joan's jokes aren't that great).

Instead, we mean to give your employees a bit of a hard time, but to do so playfully and with good-natured intentions

One way to do that is to give them a fake temporary badge.

Many organizations will give employees who left a badge at home a temporary one for the day, whether it's a spare badge that's officially used as a temp or it's a visitor badge.

This gives employees access to the building as normal without them having to go home and get their own badge. Everyone wins, right?

Except your employee suffered no consequences for forgetting his or her badge. That isn't going to make the employee learn to stop forgetting the badge.

Instead, consider doing something fun to those who forget their badge, like creating a badge that matches the style of a normal employee badge, but put a giant question mark for the photo and "I FORGOT MY BADGE" as the name. Take it a step further and have them wear the badge on an obnoxiously bright lanyard.

Things like this only work in a tight-knit office with a sense of humor; you don't want to actually hurt anyone's feelings.

But for many, a little fun can be a way to give the office a laugh and to ensure that Mr. Forgot My Badge remembers next time.


3. Make their badges do more than just ID.

Some organizations have ID badges that they require employees to wear simply for identification. They don't need them to get in the door or anything, but it's company policy that all employees must wear a badge.

In these cases (normally in retail settings) it's easy to see how employees forget: all they do is clip the badge on at the beginning of the day and unclip it eight hours later.

In the meantime, it just hangs there, forgotten.

One way to make the badge more "memorable" is to make it do more than just identify the wearer

Thanks to today's technology, an employee ID card can be used to do things like:

  • Punch-in at the beginning of a shift
  • Open "employee only" doors
  • Make purchases at the snack machine in the lunchroom

Adding functionality to the card makes it more likely that an employee will remember it. 

After all, if a card is what stands between a hungry employee and an afternoon snack, that card will probably never be left behind again...


4. Attach badges to their cell phones.


Cell phones may as well be considered body parts at this point.

People of all ages and walks of life spend their days staring intently at their tiny (or sometimes comically big) screens, sharing, posting, streaming and watching.

Think about it: when is the last time you went out (for an extended period of time) without your cell phone?

Years ago? Never?

Exactly. That's why sticking an employee ID badge on the back of a cell phone is a great way to prevent the badge from being forgotten.

 Cell phone wallet for ID cards


Chances are an employee will realize he or she forgot his or her cell phone long before arriving at the office. After all, leaving home without a phone feels like walking out without clothes.

Products like silicone cell phone wallets are slim and easy to use, adhering to the back of most flat-backed cell phones. Employees can simply slide their badge in the back, and they'll have their badges everywhere they have their phones.

As a bonus, the wallets can be custom printed. Let your employees show their company pride!

Obviously this solution only works in situations where badges aren't required to be displayed at all times. But for organizations using cards mainly for access or sign-in/sign-out, cell phone wallets can be a great solution.

Whether your employees have forgotten and lost so many ID cards that you need to buy more or you're interested in the custom cell phone wallets, we've got you covered. Browse our online store to find what you need or contact us for a free one-on-one consultation.

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