Are security guards effective?
Now, I am sure we've all heard the term "You get what you pay for" before, and although it could sometimes be used irrationally, for this subject it might just be justifiable. Security guards can be seen almost everywhere you go nowadays. Some look professional, some not so much, some bulky, some lean, but sadly most are ill-trained, badly paid and under-qualified. You see one of the important aspects of crime prevention on a physical level is discipline, and working 12-hour shifts for 5 days a week, most of it on your feet and stagnant in one position, for years on end, takes a lot of discipline!
What am I blabbering about?
You see, any employee who is constantly underpaid and over-worked tends to turn unhappy and ineffective. In no other work is an unhappy employee a greater risk than in the security field! Imagine yourself making minimum wage on 12-hour shifts, most likely traveling for another hour or two to get back home, train, get updated with the latest teachings and developments in your field and then trying to find some time for your family. Would you be happy? Would you be willing to jump into the face of danger for a client that never greets you or respects your presence?. I suspect you might say yes, and that you would do whatever it takes to support your family. This is excellent, but, you will not be able to keep this up for long. Especially not for a few years on end. yet, this is the reality these security guards face every day. And for the record, no, I'm not seeking empathy for them either, its just what it is, the truth.
So, then what makes a security guard effective?
Any security guard that aims to be effective should have the following qualities:
- Should be vigilant
- Should be properly trained
- Should keep up with crime trends
- Should keep a healthy lifestyle
- Should be presentable
- Should be disciplined
Normally you would hire a guard/s from a reputable security firm, this noticeably has a big impact on the quality of the guards that might end up on your premises. Unfortunately, you do not have much control of this, but you do get to choose which company to go for. It is the responsibility of the company to have their employees background checked, trained, uniformed and properly supervised. Though companies will add profit on their services rendered, which is obvious, you should be careful of the pricing itself. Too low and it might be that the company is not paying their employees well enough or might go out of business quite quickly, Too high and it might be exactly the same actually, as these companies tend to have fewer clients, and one or two contractual losses might again bring them to bankruptcy or having to cut corners. The best price will be the average price for services rendered in your area.
How do I choose?
When your satisfied with the risk and effectiveness of security guards and your now looking to hire a security guard/s you should take care to see that a company manages their guards well. Typically, these are good qualities of a good company:
- Price, not too low, yet not overly expensive
- Continuously re-trains their employees
- Do background checks on all employees
- Treats their employees humanely
- Not paying their guards minimum wage
- Offers their employees room for growth
- If possible, have their guards working less than 12-hour shifts
- Must have their guards trained in developing action plans for on-site work.
At the end of the day, any company should be able to explain their pricing and how they intend to keep their employees happy and well-trained. If they fail to do that, you might have to switch companies. A supervisor should be available during the hours that services are rendered and in direct contact with your management staff or yourself.
Security guards are just normal human beings trading time for income, in order to feed their families or whatever they might need to. I always advise my clients to treat the guards with respect and friendliness, you don't need to talk to them, but refrain from making them feel lesser than you! Respect in any form goes both ways, and an ill-treated guard will undoubtedly trade a good pay off for access to your premises. A security guard is not another tool you can use to run errands, wash your vehicle or hold the door just so you could feel special, their focus should be on making sure no one enters your premises illegally or removes equipment without permission.
The effectiveness of security guards evidently can be a 50/50 give or take. Choose them well, manage them well and treat them properly and you get a great service, anything less than that and you might be running a bigger risk than you think. Also noteworthy is the professionalism of your security guards, they might possibly make or break your client experience. A sloppy guard badly reflects on your company, whereas a friendly, assertive and professionally looking guard will certainly boost client experience!
Anything you might want to add or debate about the effectiveness of security guards, drop a comment below or mail me directly!