Training for Success
Writing and implementing your security officer training program is not the easiest thing to accomplish. You need to do a couple of things first. Things such as conducting a security survey or risk assessment. Then gathering the necessary materials. Next comes the easier part of creating a program for you and your officers.
When I was writing post orders for the security companies I worked for I followed a couple of examples that hadn’t actually been done before. Every place I worked and every set I read was different. I went to and inspected more than 250 security posts in the 20 years I worked in the field. And literally every single post had a different way of writing them. And this was even among differing sites of the same client! I had a client with 30 sites in Kansas City, each site had a different way of writing them!
The first thing I did was standardize the format. The reasoning for this was simple. If I had to place an untrained officer on a post in an emergency and I couldn’t get there to train them right away, then all they had to do was read the post orders and they’d know what to do.
Take each section, such as deliveries, machinery, access control, & etc. and start writing what they need to know security wise for that section. Keep it in a separate file in your computer until you’re ready to put it all together. Take each detail and break it down to its simplest element and write the steps in exacting order, as best as possible.
The main point on this is using the KISS method of training and writing. ‘Keep[p It Simple Stupid’ is as good as it gets when training people. Keep the security/training manual succinct and concise. Don’t use verbiage that only industry insiders may know. As with newspaper and magazines these days, write for an 8th grade reading level. And it some cases even lower.
With every new segment, start a new section. Don’t run them together in one large end to end format. Break up the procedures and policies into separate parts. And, put a table of contents into it as well. This will allow an employee to quickly find what they want.
Now, you’ve finish your manual. You’ve passed it out to your employees and placed the original master copy in the file in your office. Now what? Do you really think the employees will sit and read your manual and understand it? It’s possible, but not likely.
In this instance you need to start teaching them in person. Before the shift’s start for or the end of it at night, call the officers together. Give them a brief outline of a policy and then tell them they need to read it and understand it.
As you talk and move about your officers, ask them questions about the handbook, and other facility issues. Just a short quick question is all that you need in this instance. Don’t grill them like a dungeon master, just be casual about it.
Every new hire should be put through an orientation training session. In this way, you can ‘indoctrinate’ them into following the security policies and procedures. And then every quarter do it again – at the very least once a year has a formal training session.
Additionally, train your officers in the Socratic Method. This means you ask open ended questions and expect them to come up with the correct answer. If you have to let them sit and stew for a minute or so. Giving them the answer is a last resort when using this method.
Lastly, every time a new policy or procedure is issued, whether from management or security, visit each post and shift and ensure the officers know and understand it. If they seem hesitant, then stay until they do understand. And if you can’t do it personally, then assign a supervisor to do it for you. Security companies have Field Supervisors for this, but you may have to do it for yourself.
Encourage your officers to read and apply, within your policies & procedures, anything they read in a professional magazine, newsletter, or newspaper,. The idea is to be getting them to read professional items while at work or in their free time. Not that they can’t read a fiction novel, but at work is not the right place or time.
Many officers will be reluctant to get trained. Some have been in the field for so long ‘they know it all’. Others will believe they aren’t being paid enough. And yet others will readily accept the additional training.
The key in training your officers is to let them know that they are valuable and that you appreciate what they do. As in customer service they never hear it enough. They usually own hear when an f*** up occurs.
Use every possible situation for training. And every possible angle you can find as well. Postulate a question to them on a regular basis. Stop by at 0100 hours and bring them a cup of coffee or a soda.
Letting them know you are there for them and care about training them and then showing it will help them become more loyal, rewarded, & thoughtful officers. And this will, hopefully, mean you can count on them to actually think like professionals
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace violence prevention and other security issues. With numerous interviews, blogs, articles, and 2 books he has proven himself in the security arena for more than 31 years, and 23 studying workplace violence issues.
His latest book ‘one is too Many: Recognizing & Preventing Workplace violence is available for numerous e-book formats. It helps all organizations to reduce their risk and limit their liability of an incident. And it does this by breaking the rules in several ways, as well as following conventional wisdom in others.
He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/oneistoomany, Here you will see and read about other items related to WPV/SV as well as incidents you may not have heard or thought about.