While much of this may appear as obvious, you will be surprised at how many security professionals say preparation and communication are struggles their team currently faces. This is to show that any information on those subjects is of great value and need – and, it indicates that much needs to be done for the security guard industry to maintain efficient operations during a typical work time or a crisis. Let’s dive in.
Tip 1: Maintain Guards at the Ready
Set a standard pool of guards that can be ready and on call at a moment’s notice. This is essential during emergency responses or when there is a need for healthy security personnel, such as during COVID-19. Having a pool of well-trained guards at the ready ensures service and shift continuity, which customers will expect, and will help you keep your customers. This means organizing your guard team into a system that can help your supervisors log their availability, hours worked, and potential requests for absence. This also means ensuring that no unbilled overtime is accrued, if not necessary.
Tip 2. Track Guard Attendance and Always Anticipate for Absentees
You know how doctors and other professionals double book appointments? This is to ensure not only a guaranteed visit, but to also ensure payment is received for the time scheduled. In the case of the security industry, be sure to have backup guards ready to work when called (“guards at the ready”). Analyzing and tracking guard attendance will help supervisors anticipate how many guards are needed on call. In addition to point number one, when you establish a pool of guards, you tell your clients not only are you professional, your are reliable and responsible in fulfilling the terms of your contact – during any circumstance, be that a typical work time or during a crisis.
Here are a few things security companies did to address this need:
- – Kept a digital record of guard certifications and training for appropriate post placement
- – Digitally tracked guard shifts and received alerts when shifts were open
- – Got automated notification if a guard calls in sick or doesn’t clock in to confirm shift commencement
Tip 3. Have Supervisors Manage Time and Labor for Your Guards
As a majority of your security team are hourly workers, it’s imperative that supervisors are prepared to balance available work with available guards. What does this mean? During typical work times or during an emergency, the contracted work allotted for each site must be met with available guards on schedule. When your business is faced with a critical event or emergency, it’s up to your supervisors to shift guards to where they’re most needed – this means to have guards ready who have time on their work week to fulfill open slots. Proper time and labor management an essential step for security guard companies to take, especially when they are faced with changes in their demand due to industry fluctuations. The health crisis with COVID-19 is a prime example of industry fluctuation and demand shift. Here are a few things to consider:
- – Track guard time logged to ensure proper payment
- – Manage digital scheduling to avoid overwork/overtime
Tip 4: Constantly update and communicate with your team
You’ll hear this now more than ever; yet, security guard companies have indicated that communication is one of the biggest problems they encounter with their guards. Regardless of the reason for this problem, it’s up to your supervisors to be the front runner for all communications. This includes updates that concern immediate changes, such as a post reassignment due to an absentee guard, critical health updates from local and state officials, and even schedule changes for when patrols are delayed or canceled.
What about communication during on-the-job assignments?
It’s important to use the communication method best suited for your team so that your supervisors can deliver to your guards clear and concise instructions. This includes using: push-to-talk, mass messaging and alerts, post orders/instructions, email, lone worker alerts, and even the basic phone call.
Plan, Prep, and Be Ready
As a major player in the security guard industry, it’s up to us to ensure that both our front-line guards and back-office management is capable of delivering on our word. Part of doing so is to take on the a few of the most pressing issues plaguing our industry – and to be prepared for any incident during typical work times or emergencies.