Building a successful security awareness program-Part 3

by todaystrainingblog

In the first 2 parts of this posting I gave you the 2 most pressing needs of an awareness program. This final part is important because if your supervisors and managers don’t buy into it…

The supervisory/management role:

Who am I talking about here when I say supervisory & managerial roles? It basically means anyone within the organization that has or does exert control over one employee or group of them. It doesn’t matter if it is a two person department or a 100. Their titles can range from any number of or derivatives of these titles;

  • Leads
  • Crew leader
  • Shift
  • Assistant
  • Facility
  • Departmental
  • Plant

And then you have the people who work in offices within the facility who can or does control the actions of a group of employees. And these range from engineers to accountants to human resources to innumerable others. They have just as much responsibility for ensuring the success of your awareness program as the employees do.

It is their responsibility to follow-up and follow the rules with no exceptions for anything. In other words, if the supervisors and managers view security as a necessary evil then that’s what will be communicated to the employees as well. Whether they do this intentionally or with subtle signs of contempt for security and expect employees not to notice…

They need to buy into the program as they would any other initiative of the company. And they need to do it lock, stock, & barrel. This means that they may need a bit more training as to why it’s so important i.e. opening and leaving open a door that’s supposed to be locked at all times.

If the supervisors and managers let security slide or are lax to enforce rules or follow them, then the employees will also not follow them and the entire program goes down the tubes. And this could potentially be catastrophic for the company and the employees.

Hazards in today’s business world that range from workplace violence, which of course a perpetrator would absolutely love an unlocked & open door to sneak through. Theft of property which can be hazardous in and of itself. Visitors wandering in and getting hurt which is another area of immense liability. And the list could go on for several posts.

The key in all of this is not necessarily the training, or being overly dramatic in presenting it, but in the management buy-in. If management doesn’t buy into the program or decides that they don’t have to follow the rules and can do what they want, then your hard work is kaput.

And unfortunately I have seen it at more than a few companies/client facilities where supervisors & managers felt this way. They broke the security rules at practically every chance they got. And then when the contract (union) time came around, they wondered why the employees didn’t trust them and wouldn’t do what they said.

The absolute main point to all of this is that hourly employees, and managerial employees, need to buy into the awareness process. The world is a dangerous place and it is our, security professionals, responsibility to ensure the safety & security of employees.

However, we need help from the employees to help keep them safe. As I said in the very beginning, sometimes it’s not easy to do, especially if there are trust issues between hourly and management. But as security & management professionals it is dependent on us and us alone to make it work.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent nearly 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

                           I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear