In part three of our series we will be looking at some of the tools that are necessary for managing your contract security force. If you have not yet selected a security guard contractor review our posts “Understanding The Billing Rate For Your Contract Security Force” and “Understanding Contract Security Guard Training” before making your selection.
After selecting your vendor the work of managing the contract begins. Managing your contract security guards includes assessment of security guard performance, monitoring billing accuracy, monitoring responsiveness of contractor management, assessing security guard attrition rates, training, and other various metrics. But in order to increase the likelihood of having a successful security program, you and your provider have to ensure that all the necessary tools are in place.
Managing Your Contract Security
When you use the right tools for managing your contract security force it will make everyone’s job easier, especially yours. There are 3 primary tools that we will discuss in this article. The first of which is the Security Manual.
1. The Security Manual
The security manual is a document that outlines directives, emergency procedures, post orders, and other memorandum pertaining to the security function. Your facility’s security manual should also reflect publications and manuals from other departments wherever possible. By having this tool in place, you will spend much less time addressing errors that your guards make due to the lack of proper instruction or training.
The security manual should be a living document that is updated regularly and one which all security guards should have access to it. The ability to quickly update the security manual, or at a minimum the post orders, is critical. The security manual’s post orders provide instructions that are specifically tailored for each post or position in the security program. The post orders should also detail the guard’s duties in chronological order so that they serve as a minute-by-minute guide for the guards. As part of the security manual, post orders must also undergo regular revision, review, and updating. In a world dominated by document sharing applications, post orders should be stored and accessed digitally. When stored digitally, post orders can be updated, uploaded, and distributed to your guards instantaneously. This type of instantaneous access ensures that all of your guards are always in the loop when requirements change.
Question: Do you have post orders? Are your post orders stored digitally? When was the last time your post orders were updated?
2. Reporting Systems
The security guards at your facility generate various types of reports that serve to inform you of what they have seen, as well as issues that need to be addressed. The development of a reporting system is necessary for efficiently monitoring the performance of the guards and management of the contract. Incident reports and daily activity reports are two reports that are fairly ubiquitous in security departments. But there are many other types of reports that your security guards can and should be generating, including: lights out reports, fire extinguisher reports, parking violations, and incident trending. With the amount of information that your guards are generating in their reports you should have an easy way to organize, distribute, and summarize this information.
One of the best tools for efficiently reviewing security guard reports are web-based security guard reporting systems like those provided by OfficerReports.com. These reporting systems allow your security guard contractor to eliminate the inefficient use of paper reports by allowing their guards to submit their reports via the web. Using these type of systems allow contractors to provide you with one point of access to review, update, and disseminate any reports that are generated by their guards.
Question: What systems are you using to capture and analyze the information from your security guard reports?
Lastly, in order to have a truly successful security program (and make your job easier) it is crucial for you to address security guard supervision. Remote supervision of the security force is a service provided by the contractor and is different from the overall guidance that you provide as the security manager. Even in cases where the security department is large enough to have supervisors on each shift, additional systems for remote supervision should also be established. If your facility does not have formal supervisors for each shift, these systems become even more important.
The two main methods that security contractors use to remotely supervise their guards are Field Supervisors and Guard Tour Tracking Systems. Field supervisors provide limited supervision of the day-to-day security operations for several of your contractor’s sites. Field supervisors are tasked with conducting inspections of your contractor’s client sites, including your own. These inspections are performed randomly and per an established schedule. The field supervisors will provide training for new security officers, perform inspections, as well as respond to and report any problems to your contractor. Field supervisor inspections of your facility and guards should be documented and provided to you on a regular basis.
Tip: In many instances the quality of your service will correlate with the number of visits performed by field supervisors.
Guard tour tracking systems have become an essential tool for any company that provides security guards. The purpose of a guard tour system is to monitor the time and patrol activity of the guards while they are on duty. Guard tour systems are designed to help ensure that your guards are making their rounds by giving you and your contractor the ability to generate reports that show you exactly when, where, and what your guards inspected while on patrol at your site. Many of these systems have the benefit of allowing you to view your guards in real-time. So at 2am in the morning, if so inclined, you can log into the guard tour tracking system to view your guards activity.
Although the majority of managing your contract security force should be performed by your security guard company, you can not abdicate the responsibility entirely. Understanding and accepting the role that you play in managing your contact security force will make for a more successful security program. By using the tools outlined above you will have a better understanding of the service your guards are performing and be able to help your provider meet your expectations.
Are there other tools that you use to manage your contract security force? Are there tools that you wish your contract security guard company would provide that they aren’t? Please leave your comments below.
Series: Improving Your Security Guard Service
By Courtney Sparkman