10 Tips to Maximize Security Guard Retention

We can all agree that the security guard industry has a turnover issue. HR managers are constantly working to fill a never-ending list of open positions.

Part of the problem stems from sub-par candidate screening and hiring practices, resulting in new hires who don’t make the long-term cut. (Check out our blog on best practices to improve your security guard candidate pool, Defencify Online Security Guard Training Reduces Attrition in Hiring).

The last thing guard firms want to do is invest time and resources training new employees only to have them leave or be terminated shortly after hiring. But let’s say you have a developed a solid core of reliable security officers and even have a few diamonds in the rough who have recently completed their training. Now security guard retention becomes key.

How do you keep guards engaged and satisfied with their jobs once they are in the field? How do you create loyalty, so they won't leave for an extra dollar or two per hour someplace else?

Here is our list of 10 tips to maximize security guard retention:

  1. Clear post orders. Guards should have a clear understanding of their duties, the limits of their authority, and any nuances of the assignment before arriving at the site. Many jobs are solo assignments; there may not be another guard or manager around to ask a question. Example: It may not be enough to check the doors are locked, perhaps the temperature of each room needs to be monitored as well. Or maybe the customer requested a more frequent patrol schedule. If the guard doesn’t know to do this until after arrival, he may feel put upon or not properly trained to do the task. Unsatisfied customers are not far behind.

  2. Competitive pay. Hourly wages should be commensurate not only with other security guard firms in the local market, but with competing industries as well. If an employee can make more money flipping burgers or delivering meals without the training and risks associated with being a security officer, they’re out the door.

  3. Provide healthcare benefits to guards working 40 per week. Entice employees to work the minimum number of hours required for a full-time position to qualify for medical benefits. Healthcare coverage is a major draw and incentive to stay at a job longer.

  4. Offer free uniforms and equipment. Don’t make new employees responsible for on-the-job expenses. If your company requires a uniformed presence at customer sites, the onus should be on the company to provide the desired attire.

  5. Incentive bonuses. Offer perks for hitting quarterly or semi-annual numbers for the number of shifts worked. A gift card to a favorite restaurant or Amazon goes a long way.

  6. Conduct periodic performance/assignment evaluations. Bringing guards in for face-to-face meetings keeps them connected with their supervisor. Allow the conversation to be bi-directional and ask for input on how security might be improved at their assigned location(s). After all, they are the firm’s frontline eyes and ears. Incorporating their feedback makes guards feel more like part of the team.

  7. Frequent visits by field supervisors to the job site. Not to “spy” on officers during assignment, but as a mental health and well-being check. It can get lonely and cold out there. How nice when your boss unexpectedly shows up with a cup of hot coffee and a doughnut to check on you during a late shift. A little effort to make guards feel wanted and valued goes a long way.

  8. Offer a career path/growth to a supervisor or management role. Qualified employees should have a chance to move up the company ladder. The best managers (and teachers) are often those who started at the bottom and can emphasize with those in the trenches.

  9. Attempt to match personality traits and interests to assignments. Post car buffs to auto dealerships, music fans to concerts, and sports fans to stadium security details. Got an introvert who likes to be alone? Put him in an empty warehouse. Place more sociable people at corporate reception desks. Assign active individuals to properties that require lots of walking during patrols; give the stationary guard booth jobs to officers who aren’t as mobile.

  10. Ensure access to basic amenities. The property should be equipped with restroom facilities, a refrigerator or small kitchen for snacks, and maintained at a comfortable temperature when possible, for example providing a fan or space heater in outdoor booths. Respect the dignity of your guards in the field, especially in extreme environments.

In the security guard industry, the key to profitability and growth is not just finding a better class of candidate but keeping them on the payroll longer. The results are lower stress levels on HR staff for talent acquisition, less resources spent coaching underperforming guards, a core of happier and more reliable security officers, and ultimately more satisfied customers.

At Defencify, we value and understand these same objectives, and provide online self-paced training solutions that allow security guard firms to expand their hiring pools and attract the best candidates. But once hired, security guard retention is a function of corporate policy and creating an environment that fosters trust and value. We offer these tips to help security guard firms nationwide maximize success.

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Contact Defencify to learn more about what you can do to increase employee retention and affordably train a professional guard workforce.

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