We all know the old saying “you get what you pay for” and it is very true in the security industry. When you chose the lowest bidder… they pay minimum wage. Generally in the industry minimum wage = minimum effort. When the bid is so low the company cannot afford proper management or supervision, guards often slack off and their appearance goes unchecked.
- Turnover: High turnover can occasionally occur in any contract, to any service provider, and to any contracting company. The real danger emerges when high turnover becomes characteristic of a contract and both the contractor and the service provider find themselves in an exhausting cycle or finding and training personnel to meet the needs of the security program. A high turnover rate has an adverse effect on employee morale, performance, and engagement. This atmosphere requires more energy and attention be spent not only on training, but on tending to the inevitable personnel issues that arise. Disaffected employees both create, and are created by the environment they work in and the result can drive an organization’s security function into a spiral from which it is difficult to escape.
- Image and Reputation: Front line officers are ambassadors for both your organization and for the security function. Credibility is a key factor in internal influence and the comportment, accomplishments, and appearance of the officers are the single most important factor in the credibility of the security director and the security function.
- Liability and Risk: Taking care to put security measures into business practices can greatly mitigate your organizations exposure to expensive litigation. Lawsuits today often hinge on vendor selection process, contract language, and training standards. As James Biehl, CLEE and vice president and Chief Protection Officer of KeyCorp said so succinctly about owning risk in a recent presentation, “You can delegate, but you can never abdicate.”
- People Problems: Low wages limit a service provider’s ability to hire and retain top-quality staff. The result is more peer-to-peer issues, officer-to-supervisor issues, and officer-to-client issues. The contracting organization representatives end up spending more time trying to resolve issues or challenge the security provider to resolve problems.
- Lack of Engagement: A low-cost contract not only provides lower wages, but fewer benefits, less training, and less supervision for front line employees. The result is a workforce that does not fully engage with its role and duties. An engaged workforce volunteers discretionary effort that provides value over and above the constraints of the contract that often are never documented.
- The Missing Partner: (bonus missing issue) When a security provider spends all of their time trying to keep turnover low and morale high they are essentially spending all of their time trying to keep the organizations Security Director out of trouble. As energy follows attention, this means the service provider is constantly putting out fires instead of growing into that partnership hat is the hallmark of high-achieving outsourced security. There is no opportunity for parties to sit down together and focus on building the security program in a way that realizes the goals and objectives of the organization.