Security is not an area where businesses can afford to cut corners. Yet many companies try to save money by minimizing their investment in on-site security personnel. While it may seem like a place to trim budgets, this strategy often costs more in the long run. Not having adequate security staff leaves your business vulnerable to theft, vandalism, workplace violence, and many other threats.
This blog post will look at five common mistakes companies make when they need to sufficiently invest in security officers and proactive protection measures. Discover the hidden costs and consequences of taking security too lightly at your organization. You’ll see why investing in skilled security personnel who engage with your staff and understand your business pays dividends when it comes to maintaining safety, preventing losses, and allowing your company to thrive.
Mistake 1: Assuming You Don’t Need Security Personnel
Some businesses wrongly assume they do not require professional security staff because they have yet to experience significant security incidents. However, failing to have security personnel on-site leaves you wide open to crime and workplace violence. No business is immune from security threats. Here are some reasons why all companies need a security presence:
- Deterrence – Visible security officers deter potential criminals from targeting your location. Their presence demonstrates you take safety seriously.
- Real-time response – Security staff can respond immediately to issues like trespassing, thefts, threats against employees, and suspicious individuals. Quick response minimizes losses.
- Expertise – They have specialized training in protection methods, emergency response, threat detection, and evidence collection that your staff likely need to improve.
- Liaison with authorities – Security personnel develop relationships with local police and can work effectively with law enforcement if issues arise.
- Public perception – Customers feel more secure when seeing professional guards monitoring a business location. It improves public confidence.
Please don’t make the mistake of thinking it won’t happen to you. Statistics show workplace violence and theft occur more often than many leaders realize. Be proactive with on-site security staff who can help prevent incidents and respond quickly when issues arise.
Mistake 2: Having Inadequate Staff for the Facility Size
Another familiar error companies make is failing to provide enough on-duty security officers to monitor their facilities correctly. When coverage is spread too thin, safety gaps emerge. Criminals take advantage of these gaps.
To determine adequate security staffing, consider:
- Facility square footage – The more significant your buildings and grounds, the more security personnel you need to maintain sufficient surveillance. The recommended ratio is one guard per 50,000 square feet.
- Number of buildings – Multiple buildings on a campus require adequate guards in each location, especially for entrances/exits.
- Shift changes – Overlap officers during shift changes to avoid coverage gaps.
- Patrol routes – Have enough guards to regularly patrol all grounds, warehouses, parking lots, etc.
- Busy hours – Increase officers during peak hours with more traffic/people on site.
Trying to get by with minimal security staff may backfire through costly thefts, facility damage, and liability issues that arise from poor coverage. Hiring additional trained officers is one investment that pays off.
Mistake 3: Hiring Unqualified or Poorly Trained Officers
Some companies underinvest in officers by hiring inexperienced, unqualified guards to save money. This often yields poor results. Well-trained, professional officers have advantages:
- Screening – Thoroughly vet applicants’ backgrounds to avoid issues down the road.
- Licensing – In many states, officers must hold a security license verifying completed training hours.
- Training – Seek officers who undergo regular training to hone their protection skills.
- Experience – Hire guards with experience handling situations germane to your industry. Retail and hospital guards have different focuses.
- Professionalism – Well-trained guards remain calm and follow protocols during crises.
- Legal compliance – They understand proper evidence collection and detention procedures.
Avoid problems by ensuring your security personnel are appropriately qualified, licensed, and trained. While it may cost more upfront, it protects your business from liability issues.
Mistake 4: Not Establishing Clear Duties and Protocols
Some companies tell guards to monitor things without formal protocols. This lack of direction leads to confusion and gaps in coverage. Outline clear roles, assignments, patrol routes, and emergency response procedures for your security team. Consider policies for:
- Post assignments by location
- Patrol routes and timing
- Opening/locking down procedures
- Emergency response plans
- Visitor and delivery screening processes
- Incident documentation and reporting
- Detaining/arresting trespassers
- Traffic/parking enforcement
Create detailed duty checklists and protocols based on your facility vulnerabilities, high-traffic areas, business operations, and shift schedules. Provide training for all tasks guards should perform. By reducing grey areas in their role, you bolster protection.
Mistake 5: Failing to Integrate Security into Company Culture
Integrate your security personnel into your company’s culture for the best protection. Guards who engage positively with staff and understand your business operations will perform their duties more effectively. But it requires effort on both sides.
- Have guards introduce themselves to staff members.
- Invite security supervisors to leadership meetings occasionally to give input.
- Share information on current business activities that may affect security.
- Recognize guards for good work by noting it to their supervisor or agency.
- Encourage informal interactions between guards and employees while maintaining professionalism.
- Solicit staff feedback on security team performance and address concerns.
Making security officers part of the team enhances information sharing, cooperation, and protection. Employees should see the security team as colleagues working toward shared safety goals. However, it requires initiatives by leadership to foster open communication and collaboration. The investment pays off with tighter security across the board.
Conclusion: A Wise Investment in Safer Operations
While it may seem like an extra expense, building a solid in-house security team is a wise investment that pays invaluable dividends. The presence of well-trained, engaged security officers is a powerful deterrent against crimes that result in costly business losses. No company can afford to be lax on security measures in today’s climate. You can develop an effective security strategy tailored to your organization’s needs by avoiding the common mistakes outlined here. The small upfront investment in skilled officers, clear protocols, and integrated teams leads to long-term benefits from ongoing safety and security. The payoff comes through preventing the high costs associated with theft, property damage, sensitive information loss, and liability risk when incidents arise. Don’t learn these lessons the hard way. Be proactive in developing a security plan that protects your people, assets, and reputation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we need security officers if we’ve never had incidents before?
No business is immune from crime, theft, and workplace violence. Adequate security personnel on-site is needed to ensure you are protected. All it takes is one serious incident to lead to significant losses and liability issues. Being proactive with professional officers who can deter threats is wise protection.
How many security guards do you recommend per square footage/acreage?
Industry best practices recommend having one security guard per 50,000 square feet of facility space. The number should increase for multiple buildings, extensive outdoor grounds, and busy facilities. Ensure complete coverage across all areas with overlaps during shift changes.
What qualifications should we look for when hiring security officers?
Look for licensed guards who have undergone proper background checks and training. Seek those with certifications relevant to your industry and facility type. Hire professional guards from reputable agencies, not those looking for extra cash.
How much should we expect to spend on security personnel?
Industry averages show spending approximately $150,000 annually per security officer. However, costs vary by region, contract agency rates, required hours, training requirements, and equipment needs. Develop quotes based on your specific facility coverage needs.
What can security officers do to engage with staff and build relationships?
Have them introduce themselves, attend occasional staff meetings, participate in company events, learn operations workflows, follow employee handbooks, share relevant incidents with workers, and have informal conversations to build trust. Feeling part of the team enhances their performance.