Security guard myths and how we challenge them.
If you ask someone what their vision of a security is, they likely will not have a positive response. ‘Lazy’, ‘fall asleep on the job’, ‘unfit’ would likely feature in many people’s thoughts.
At Expeditious Services, we like to challenge the security expectations and stereotypes, bringing it into the future and championing a positive industry reputation. The stereotypes surrounding security officers and people who choose security as a career is no different.
These are 7 common stereotypes we hear about security guards, and how we challenge them using our systems, processes, and technology.
“Security officers are lazy and complacent.”
Using Eximitas, our in-house built workforce management app, we pro-actively keep track of security officer actions. Each shift, an officer is assigned specific duties (assignment instructions) and patrols to conduct. These are tracked and reported through the app, with proof of movement using the app’s inbuilt GPS. We ensure the patrol routes are varied, to keep the officers engaged in their work, and prevent complacency through autopilot.
“Security officers sleep on the job.”
One crucial part of a Critical Control Helpdesk (CCHD) operators’ role is conducting integrity and welfare checks with officers throughout their shift. These check calls are at a tolerance level of roughly one hour apart, but never exactly an hour. If check calls are not answered, they are escalated to a nearby officer, site supervisor or police to check the officer isn’t injured or there isn’t any other significant problem. By conducting these regular checks, we’ve noticed a significant reduction in incidents of security officers falling asleep at work.
“Security officers just play on their phone and go on social media all the time.”
In the current modern working environment, this can be one of the most difficult policies for a workplace to enforce. It is growing particularly tricky as temptation to use a phone increases, the more a workplace relies on an employee’s phone to complete their work, like with our own Eximitas app. We have a zero tolerance policy against the use of social media at work. Any reported incidents of an officer extensively using their phone for non-work use is handled extremely seriously, often followed by a disciplinary.
We use assignment instructions and trackable duties to ensure officers are rarely left without anything to do, limiting temptations to open social media apps. We also make the most of an officer lone-working to conduct top-up training and toolbox talks over the phone, again limiting the amount of “bored” time an officer has and may be tempted to jump on TikTok.
“Security officers don’t speak good English.”
Clear communication, especially throughout incidents or emergencies is of paramount importance to a security officer’s role. Part of our interview process with security officers at Expeditious Services is a covert English language assessment. Throughout the entire interview process – including CV and cover letter, the online interview, and all other points of correspondence before – our recruitment team assess the applicant’s English language skills. They use this as part of their hiring process, particularly for more customer service/concierge roles where the security officer would have to actively interact with the public.
“Security officers aren’t motivated to do a good job.”
Reporting, rewarding and recognising a job well done by employees is a fantastic for team morale and inspiring other team members to want to do good work as well. Beyond consistently monitoring and reporting on KPIs and SLAs, we have a reward and recognition scheme in place. This is run by the Head of People Services and Service Excellence Director, who award an officer monthly with a certificate, gift voucher and special commendation for their hard work.
We keep a close eye on security officer performance; if it drops, they are placed on a training schedule to get them back up to standard. If they do not comply with the training, then this becomes a HR matter to be handled appropriately.
“Security officers aren’t well trained.”
After being recruited, our security officers undertake a thorough training program. Initially, they must complete our internal Expeditious Annual Training & Testing (EATT), which covers health & safety, environmental and customer care. This (as the name suggests) is renewed annually. Additionally, we check and monitor security licenses on a weekly basis. Any officers with an expired license are not deployed and must complete their license and license linked qualification training before they can be dispatched again.
Additional training comes from spot-checks during site visits, and toolbox talks which are delivered in short chunks while an officer is on shift. These help to keep our officer’s knowledge and skills fresh, keep them engaged and confident in their role, and help to prevent unnecessary issues.
“Security officers aren’t healthy.”
Shift work and night work are notoriously difficult for maintaining a good standard of health and wellbeing. We support our officers in eating well by conducting welfare visits on all sites, ensuring they have at the very least a microwave and a kettle for a hot drink and reheating food brought from home. On occasions where this hasn’t been available, we have put in these appliances ourselves, and for larger sites with multiple occasions have placed wellbeing containers.
Our Eximitas app is more than just workforce management, it supports officer wellbeing too. Within it is a pedometer, which tracks an officer’s steps, encouraging movement in what can sometimes be a static role, with a wellbeing leaderboard celebrating those with the most steps. The app also delivers notifications serving as a reminder to drink water and stay hydrated, meal planning tips for lunchboxes, recipes, and simple exercises.
If you’d like more information about how we look after our officers, and how you can join our team – get in contact with our People & Culture team – HERE.
If you found this interesting, you may enjoy our blog on how to recruit the next generation of security talent.