Motivating a security team
A security team is often a building’s first – and last – line of defence. Here, John Briggs offers some advice on the important task of keeping the team motivated and alert.
A motivated, attentive and observant security team can be a highly-effective deterrent and a robust line of defence where other interventions, such as electronic security access, fail.
A unified approach in the security industry, unmotivated employees can have a negative impact on the successful operation of a security system. In extreme circumstances, this can lead to disastrous consequences.
In 2012, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CNPI) published a report, providing guidance for security managers on how to improve and maintain employee motivation. The step-by-step assistance and supporting analysis tools are invaluable for those responsible for managing security personnel.
So, how can security providers create an environment to ensure their security team remain motivated, committed and attentive?
There is not one simple answer for this, but maintaining open communication, providing regular opportunities for training, and delegating responsibility, goes a long way in encouraging motivation within any team.
In addition to these suggestions, providing tasks that occupy the security team throughout their entire shift and allowing them to move around the site to perform different tasks will keep them engaged. Ensuring they are paid correctly and on time, have full uniforms and personal protection equipment, and receive regular feedback, recognition and reward on a job well done will instil a sense of value within the team.
Finally, the realisation of opportunities for progression and promotion in the company will encourage commitment and pride in their work – which increases the retention of staff and decreases changes in workforce for the client.
It is certainly advisable for security managers to integrate these practices into their standard employee development procedures. They should also be considered in the wider context of integration with the client’s security culture.
After all, a security team must rely on the co-operation and goodwill of those they are protecting in order to deliver the right level of security to their client and its employees. In that respect, if the client’s employees are well-informed and appreciate the value of having the right security measures in place, they are far more likely to respond positively.
Therefore, it’s not only the actions of a well-motivated security team that can create a safe working environment, it is also about the client’s employees understanding the common, unified approach to security in their organisation.
For instance, if the client wants its employees to be vigilant and consider security measures as an integral aspect of their work, then it must provide an environment that sets the right example. This doesn’t have to involve a complex security alert or escalation system to work effectively. Basic, simple measures implemented company-wide can make a positive impact on security culture.
For example, employees may be required to lock confidential paperwork away securely; but if they’re not provided with sufficient lockable storage, then they may question the management’s commitment to security.
Other simple measures could include a security hotline for employees to report incidents, ensuring that there are appropriate procedures for handling and disposing of information, or implementing a clear desk and work area policy.
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