Ensuring worker safety is one of the most important duties of HR. However, providing a safe workplace isn’t as straightforward as it should be. These days, you’re battling an unprecedented global pandemic and a meteoric rise in public protests.
That’s on top of the normal concerns like harassment prevention and emergency response protocols.
Just another day in the HR department, right?
As our world gets more complex, so does the task of maintaining a safe work environment. As well as having measures like getting the printers to produce employee lanyards or giving everyone their own swipe card, in-office security guards can help you bridge the gap – here’s how.
The basics: in-office security guards
At a base level, companies hire security guards to protect their buildings and the people and assets inside. Studies have shown that the presence of a security guard alone can deter crime.
In other words, just having security around can decrease crime and improve overall workplace safety.
However, as an HR department, security guards bring much more value to the table.
What value does in-office security provide to an HR department?
Generally, security guards patrol the property and report irregularities or incidents to authorities. They might also physically stop or restrain trespassers.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “That’s all fine and well, but how does that help me? What value does security provide to an HR department?”
In-office security can do more than just report crime. They can:
- De-escalate uncomfortable situations: HR has to deal with many tricky situations like terminations, harassment allegations, changing benefits and compliance issues. People can become hostile in these settings. In-office security can prevent these situations from escalating and becoming dangerous.
- Help enforce new COVID-19 polices: Most businesses have several new COVID-19 rules in place to keep employees safe as they return to the office. But, as you know, it’s never easy to enforce new protocols – especially if the issue is polarizing. In-office security can help ensure all employees abide by the new COVID-19 policies.
- Monitor employee behavior: You can’t be everywhere all the time. However, the HR department is responsible for monitoring and preventing all types of employee issues. Experts agree that increased monitoring can deter issues like sexual harassment. Employees are less likely to participate in harmful behaviors if they’re being monitored, and security helps increase your monitoring capabilities.
- Deter crimes and increase workplace safety: As we’ve discussed, security guards can deter crimes like burglaries, car break-ins, theft and violence. This can be game-changing for employee safety. Even if crime isn’t a huge concern, in-office security guards can do things like patrol dark parking lots and walk your employees to their cars after work. They can handle the volatile customers or the mentally ill, homeless person in the lobby. In these ways, in-office security can dramatically improve overall employee safety at work.
In-office security guards can help you de-escalate, enforce, monitor and make the entire workplace feel safer.
However, not all security guards are created equal, and bad security can be just as harmful as no security.
Not all security is created equally: What to look for
When you decide to add security, you have a couple of options:
- Hire an in-house security team; and
- Use contract security services.
Many companies do the latter. It’s generally more cost-effective and efficient than hiring and creating an entirely new department. However, navigating the world of contract security can be complicated. Here are a few tips.
You want to look for the following things:
- Transparency: Way too often, security contract companies want you to hire them and not ask any questions. If you run into this, run the other way!
You should be able to:
- See the guards’ schedule;
- Know which security guards are showing up each day and when;
- See all incident reports instantly and digitally; and
- Have proof that the guards are actually showing up and doing their rounds.
- Control: You also want to make sure you have some control over the guards that show up and how they operate. For instance, if you have a particular guard you don’t care for, you should be able to request they aren’t put on the shift for your company anymore. Conversely, if you really like a guard, you should be able to prioritize them.
- Connectedness: You need to make sure that you can communicate easily and freely with your security company when necessary. You need to be able to get in touch if you have issues or questions. You should also expect to have your problems resolved quickly.
Transparency, control, and connectedness are must-haves when you hire in-office security contractors. Security guards can be incredibly valuable for HR departments and increasing workplace safety as long as you don’t compromise on these three “must-haves.”
Increase workplace safety with in-office security
In these continually evolving times, there’s no value greater than safety in the workplace. In-office security is a fantastic way to facilitate it.
In-office security guards can make your workplace safer and your job as an HR professional easier. Just remember to look for security services that emphasize transparency, contro, and connectedness, and you’ll be on your way to creating a safer workplace in no time.
Matt Voska is the COO at Bannerman Security in San Francisco, California.