Supervision and Management
As outlined in the three previous post, there are numerous issue to consider when selecting a security guard vendor. This series has focused on Compensation, Screening and Training, while this post will address Management & Supervision. I will attempt to address some steps that clients can take to increase your ability to select a quality services provider.
This is another critical area of failure in the guarding industry. Almost every company claims that they have 24/7 supervision and that each post will be inspected on a regular basis. Usually, this is simply not the case for numerous reasons. First, this supervisor is assigned a book of accounts that could be as large as 50 clients and constitute over 3000HPW of service. It is simply not possible for this supervisor to conduct meaningful site visits to this number of clients on a weekly basis. Secondly, the training, pay and benefits provided to supervisors is not sufficient at most companies to hire qualified professional security personnel. In most case, this is an entry level person with little to no training whose wage is barely above those paid to the officers. They often simply lack the skills to perform as advertised.
In the race to increase revenue at all costs, little thought is given to the real impact of providing mediocre supervision in today’s security firms. This has resulted in significant turnover in most security companies including turnover in management and supervision. Clients should inquire about the tenure and qualifications of the personnel that will be managing their account. This should include those personnel that will be charged with visiting your facility after hours. Ask for a resume for each person that will have involvement with your account.
Clients should also look at the companies training programs and determine what they provide to their management team. This will give an indication of the company’s attitude towards career development. Failure to invest in the career development of the management team is a good indication of a company’s lack of commitment to training their management team. This lack of career development and training for supervision only works to increase turnover in these positons, which will have a negative impact on service delivery to clients and poor treatment of officers.
It make more sense to pay more, train appropriately, attract security professionals and then monitor site performance less frequently in person augmented with technology? Higher quality supervision coupled with technology to monitor daily activities would improve interaction between management and the officers assigned to client sites. More professional management can accomplish more with a more tailored approach to the supervision and training of officers.
With the race amongst the large players for more revenue, they often ignore the basics of the business in order to increase top line growth. Often this is done with little regard to how to actually provide service and in many cases little consideration is given to the financial performance of the account which leads to further margin erosion. This process then perpetuates the lack of decent wages, professional training and service innovation as the shrinking margin does not allow for these types of investments. Nowhere in our industry is this more obvious than by the level of management and supervision provided by most security providers.