Train your guards to be officers – Part 2

by todaystrainingblog

• Testing
While training is the first step, testing is a mandatory 2nd. After training someone, whether it is orientation or On-the-Job (OJT), you need to test them. If you don’t test, how do you know whether or not they learned, and retained, anything in the class or OJT? And how can you correct any issues that come about because of a lack of understanding?
You should always have written tests at the end of training. Whether that training is in the classroom or during OJT or even a mandatory yearly re-fresher. Written forces the officer to think out their answer and put it in writing. Another way is the oral test.
Whether you see them in the office or when you’re on a post inspection, ask them a question about their assignment. And require them to answer you in as detailed as the two of you have time for. Officers don’t like this, but I believe it’s mandatory.
Both of these kind of tests will keep them on their toes and keep them thinking and learning about their assignment. Additionally, it will keep them up-to-date on their post, client needs, as well as the industry and company news.

• field supervision
Are you, or your field Manager’s, out at all hours conducting post inspections? If they are, then they need to be doing more than just shooting the breeze with them. Ask them questions about the post, post orders, and other such things. And after the breeze has been shot, leave them with something to think about, i.e. a motivational thought or similar.
But this will also help to get them into the idea that they need to be an officer not a guard. Your field level supervision needs to be the official presence of the company and uphold the standards that, I hope you do, have. Checking on their uniforms, duties performed, passing along memo’s and etc. will help the officer know the company cares.
Guards will see field management as a royal pain in the butt. But to an officer they will see it as an opportunity to learn and grow, whether within the industry or company, and learn from a more experienced officer. Should your field managers become friendly with the officers and be personable?
Of course they should! You can’t just walk onto a post and be all business and then walk off. Whether they are guards or officers they will see that as nothing more than someone who wants to fire them rather than assist them in becoming better at their job. Shoot the breeze all you want as long as both understand that it is a business talk as well.

• Be curious and paranoid
Yes paranoid. Does that mean call another officer, supervisor, or the police every time they hear a sound? Of course not. What it means is that they should take nothing for granted. If you hear a noise in a dark facility, no matter what kind, then don’t think it’s just a rat or mouse. It could be a criminal breaking into the facility to cause who knows what kind of havoc. And curiosity killed the cat, but it won’t kill the officer – unless you’re in a horror movie!

• Customer service
There is so much more to customer service than smiling and being respectful to others. I wrote a post on customer service a couple of months ago. Read it and you’ll get a good start on it (I have several blogs on customer service recently so just look for them along with this one)
Just remember that customer service is not an act but a habit. Therefore, in order to make your officers into customer service extraordinaire, you need to make them effective, efficient, & train them in the skills they need.

• Conclusion
Did you get to your level of expertise in the field by sitting around and doing nothing? I really don’t think so. There isn’t a magic elixir to take to make you a security genius. Nor is there a metal helmet you can put on to attract the entire worlds knowledge. So, that leaves one thing and one thing only. Observe and learn!
Have your officers learn and keep learning about everything. Have them observe everything and record it mentally and in their mandatory pocket notebooks. If you can get them to change their perception of themselves, and the client/management changes their perceptions, the hardest part, then you are on the way to having officers not guards. And if you can do that, then your officers will gain and be respected as such.

Here’s an interview for a podcast that I did. I hope you enjoy what I have to say about how observe & report is obsolete and the wrong way for security officers to complete their duties;