When companies secure security guard services, they have a picture in mind of what their contract security force should look like, but too often what they end up with is not what they wanted. What is often the case is that while the security guard company may have the capability to meet the expectations, what they are often lacking is proper corporate security management. A site security manager provided by the contract security company, will be in charge of managing the security guards to the contract standards, but they are accountable to the contract security company at the end of the day. Employing a corporate security manager, there will be someone who is looking out for the company’s interests, and managing security through ongoing quality control reviews, as well as keeping the physical security procedures up to date.
Security guard companies are different from any other vendor that a company usually employs. If you hire a painter, you can see whether or not they are doing their jobs by looking at the walls. But when you hire a security guard company, how often can you see whether the guard company is doing their job which includes running background checks and drug screenings, providing good training for the guards, and effectively monitoring and supervising the guards. In most instances they probably are, but it is important to implement a system of verification and quality control of physical security management. A solid base for monitoring security guard services is a ensuring you have essential security policies in place. When you have that accomplished, you next need to follow the following 5 steps to improve your security guard services.
How to Improve Your Security Guard Services in 5 steps
1) Screen Your Guards Qualifications
In many states, security guards are mandated to have a specified amount of training before they can begin working as security guards. If your state is one of these states, ensure that your security guard company is compliant, do not just accept their word, ask for copies of the certificates.
If you are in a state where there are no state requirements for guard certification, then investigate the type of training that is being provided by your security company and ask yourself does it seem adequate. Doing this step during the contract negotiation means, if you find the security guard training inadequate, you can ask for more training or find a company that provides the level of security you are seeking.
Additionally, is your security guard company performing background and drug screenings on all your guards BEFORE they send them to your property? If they are, they should be providing you with verification. If not, why?
2) Assess Guard Training
Although most security guard companies have a very thorough orientation that introduces each guard to their company, in many cases the guard’s orientation to his assigned property is not as complete. We call the orientation for the assigned property “Site Specific Training”. Find out what your site specific training looks like:
- Does it occur at your property?
• Who does the training?
• How long is each new officer trained?
• How long does the security company double bank? (Double banking is the process of having a veteran guard working at the same time as the new guard.)
• How thoroughly are your post orders explained?
Corporate security management would be the ideal position to conduct this “Site Specific Training”, as they know the physical security procedures of the site, as well as the security policy.
Unsure of how to assess your guard training? Check out this post on Security Company Resource Center to help you better understand it.
3) Review Your Guard’s Supervision
Guard supervision is one of the more important factors of good security guard service. When security companies provide poor supervision, there is not enough emphasis placed on preventing mistakes, problems, and complaints. Lack of supervision also removes the opportunity for the guard to learn and better understand their duties. If the guards are not being supervised, they begin to feel that their work is not important and they begin to see themselves as less of a part of the security team. When guards do not feel like part of your team it typically leads to unacceptable practices such as unprofessional behavior, tardiness, and even theft.
Depending on the structure of your contract, on-site supervisors may not be included. If your contract does not require on-site supervision, how does your security guard company remotely supervise its guards? Outside of the normal security company field supervisor spot checks, the two methods of remote supervision that prove most successful are:
- Officer Tour Tracking Systems
- Officer Check-Ins
If your guards are required to make rounds of your property, then a system for tracking them while on duty is essential. This can be accomplished with a physical security checklist, whether on paper or done electronically.
4) Inspect Your Guards
After hours inspections of your guards are always great ways of finding out exactly what is happening with your security while you are not there. During these inspections, make sure to ask your security guards questions about their duties and responsibilities to ensure that they understand their jobs. In fact, we suggest having your security guards audited regularly, formally (i.e. post inspection) and informally (i.e. secret shopped) by a licensed security consultant as part of your ongoing security program.
5) Meet with your Security Guard Company Regularly
The fifth and easiest step is to regularly meet with your security company. Without providing regular feedback to your security guard company, property managers are missing out on opportunities to achieve incremental increases in efficiency. Topics such as tenant feedback, guard attrition, feedback from any remote supervisory systems, and any security audits should be discussed during these meetings.
Make sure your security policies are set up correctly.
For a professional corporate security manager, these 5 tips should seem commonplace, but many companies overlook them, and just keep switching contract security companies, hoping the next company, will provide solid security management.