Getting Your Security Employees Off to a Good Start

By Jim Grant

Every security company wants experienced and loyal employees with a great work ethic who will represent their company professionally. Of course, finding an outstanding employee starts with the company itself. What steps can they take to ensure that new employees have a firm foundation and the desire to success?

It Takes Teamwork
Often the different departments within a company act as separate entities but hiring the right security employees is a group effort. Understandably, the hiring process can be lengthy due to the various licensing requirements, background investigations, and the possible need for security clearances necessary for new hires. Regular communication is key.

Lack of communication can leave new employees unsure of their position and feeling like they aren’t part of the team. It’s easy to present the opposite image of what you want to portray if you don’t communicate frequently.

HR and Operations leaders must work together to encourage new candidates and team members to remain engaged throughout the process. With teamwork, you can stay in contact with new security personnel to make sure they feel connected and part of the team. This also shows new employees that your company works as a team to take care of one another.

Creating a connection this way helps build loyalty and encourages them to stay focused on joining the team instead of seeking employment opportunities elsewhere. 

So, how is this achieved? By treating new candidates and team members as valuable employees throughout the onboarding process. This increases employee satisfaction and engagement at work, and reduces the costs associated with replacing personnel frequently. 

Another way to improve the hiring process is to ensure there is an evaluation for new employees to fill out 30 days after being hired. The review should focus on what went well and what didn’t so that you can discover and fix areas you can improve. Positive feedback and enthusiasm are indicators that the process is working well and makes the new hire feel good about being an employee of your company. 

Essential Training that’s Engaging, Consistent, and Easy to Access
There’s nothing more frustrating and stressful for a new employee than being dropped in a job location on an eight-hour shift alone. If that new person is solely responsible for everything that goes on in that facility with little to no training, it can be a recipe for trouble.

Let’s say a lone security officer monitors a building and a light on the alarm panel goes off. If they have no training on what that means and no one to reach out to, the employee is set up for failure. What can go wrong? That officer will likely spend the next 7.5 hours biting their nails trying to figure out if the building is on fire or someone has broken in.

It’s vital that not only is every security employee properly trained but that the training is engaging and consistent. One of the main reasons excellent security officers leave a new job is the stress of not know what their employers expect of them.

The Secrets to Retaining Good Security Employees
I already mentioned two keys to long-term retention of security employees: HR and Operations managers working as a team combined with consistent, engaging training that’s easy to access. Two other critical factors are matching employees with the right location culture and a work schedule that fits their needs. 

Some people like to be alone and prefer quiet locations.  Some prefer to be around other people and enjoy faster-paced environments.  So if you place an introverted security officer with a grumpy disposition at a job location that requires them to greet customers, that would not be ideal. Similarly, if you place an extroverted, cheerful person at a lonely guard post where they don’t see anyone all day, they will be bored, unhappy and will eventually leave.

It is also important to note that many people applying for security positions have other jobs, school, or family obligations. If the security job you are offering is a good fit with their lifestyle, they are more likely to enjoy it and stay. Creating a better work-life balance, therefore, is critical in helping security officers remain part of the team.

It doesn’t take much effort to address location culture and understand the needs of the security employee during the hiring process. But it does require recruiters and security managers to understand the different job sites. Putting in the effort to ensure a security employee’s happiness saves everyone frustration and time. 

Overall, a positive applicant experience, streamlined onboarding process, and practical and engaging initial training create a high, performing, dedicated long-term security team member. A collaborative hiring process between Operations managers and HR decreases the cost of replacing employees who felt lost in the process. The more loyal long-term employees you have, the more your security team will thrive.

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Jim Grant believes that great security teams are built through teamwork, care for people and constant drive to learn and improve. He serves as Vice President of U.S. Security Operations at Prosegur. 

Jim spent over 25 years in private security, holding senior leadership positions at some of the largest companies in the industry. Prior to this, he served nine years in the U.S. Marine Corps as a tanker and as a recruiter.

Jim has an MBA degree from Dowling College and BA degree from SUNY Binghamton. He resides in New York.