Security Workforce Management Guide

Workforce Management

Table of Contents

The objective of security workforce management is to:

Have the right people,

And the right amount of people,

Doing the right tasks,

At the right time,

At the right place,

And performing those tasks in the right way.

With the correct technology, processes, and procedures, a business can effectively manage its workforce to achieve optimum performance, lower labour costs, and increase profit.

Effective workforce management can be quite complex as it involves more than one element.

To have a workforce that achieves great results requires the full support of your entire company, from the CEO and management to security guards and office staff.

It’s probably a lot more important than you think because ultimately, it impacts your bottom line.

workforce management

What is Security Workforce Management?

Definition of security workforce management

Security workforce management describes the management of employees in a security company.

No matter how many staff members a security company has in its employment, it will engage in workforce management.

Management by design vs. management by default

But here’s the thing: management can be by design or it can be by default.

The difference is profitability: the one is strategised and the other just “happens”.

When the workforce is managed by design, it means that management has thought out its mission and strategy and has built processes and standards to support the vision.

Leaving things to run by default means management is unspokenly run by a “winging it” process.

Contract Management

Profitability hinges not only on the efficiency of management but also on the delivery of exceptional customer service aligned with contractual agreements. Key areas that contribute to profitability include:

  • Strategic planning to build an efficient company.
  • Fostering a conducive company culture.
  • Establishing an effective and proficient security guard force.
  • Implementing the appropriate technology and workforce management software.
  • Empowering staff to safeguard company data while delivering exceptional service.
  • Cultivating strong relationships with security guards and officers.
  • Equipping employees with the necessary tools to excel in their roles.
  • Leveraging data, analysis, and reporting to continuously enhance service delivery and meet contractual obligations.

By prioritising exceptional customer service aligned with contractual commitments, management ensures not only profitability but also strengthens client relationships and fosters long-term business success.

security workforce

Impact of Security Workforce Management on Profit

Challenges faced by security companies

The demand for security services has surged on a global scale in recent years, driven by heightened awareness and the evolving security landscape. While this surge has led to rapid growth for many security firms, it has also brought forth a myriad of challenges.

Beyond the complexities of managing workforce scheduling and attendance, security companies grapple with intensified competition, shrinking profit margins, and escalating operational costs. The relentless pressure to adapt to evolving compliance standards further strains resources, while organised labour exerts additional cost pressures.

Amidst this backdrop, many security firms find themselves trapped in antiquated practices, relying on manual methods ill-equipped to meet the demands of modern security operations. Such outdated approaches not only hinder efficiency but also fail to provide the necessary insights for effective time and attendance tracking.

In essence, the challenges faced by security companies extend far beyond operational hurdles, encompassing broader issues of profitability, competition, compliance, and labour dynamics. Navigating these challenges requires a strategic overhaul of traditional practices and a proactive embrace of innovative solutions tailored to the demands of the contemporary security landscape.

Consequences of inefficient workforce management

Inefficient workforce management can lead to a cascade of detrimental consequences, amplifying operational challenges and compromising business performance. Some of the key repercussions include:

  • Missed or Double-Booked Shifts: Cumbersome paper-based processes and human errors often result in shifts being overlooked or accidentally double-booked. This can disrupt operational continuity and strain employee morale.
  • Time-Intensive Scheduling and Communication: Manual scheduling processes consume excessive time and resources, exacerbated by the need for constant adjustments as employees communicate shift preferences or unexpected absences.
  • Ineffectiveness of Disconnected Time and Attendance Systems: Non-integrated time and attendance (T&A) systems contribute to inaccuracies in recording employee work hours. Disconnected systems hinder seamless data flow and exacerbate errors in payroll and billing processes.
  • Constant Crisis Management Mode: Without streamlined workforce management systems in place, businesses find themselves perpetually reacting to scheduling crises, exacerbating stress and reducing operational efficiency.
  • Increased Overtime and Non-Productive Time: Scheduling errors not only inflate overtime costs but also contribute to non-productive time as employees wait for schedule adjustments or replacements. This inefficiency necessitates maintaining surplus staff at an additional cost to accommodate unforeseen schedule changes.
  • Diminished Employee Morale: The manual and error-prone nature of scheduling processes can frustrate employees, diminishing morale and productivity. Repeated data entry tasks compound the issue, further eroding satisfaction and engagement.
  • Lack of Data Analysis and Reporting: In the absence of robust data analysis and reporting mechanisms, businesses are unable to glean actionable insights from workforce data. This oversight hampers strategic decision-making, inhibits performance improvements, and jeopardises customer satisfaction.

To mitigate these challenges and foster sustainable growth, businesses must transcend outdated management practices and prioritise strategic alignment with organisational goals. Investing in integrated workforce management solutions, grounded in a clear mission and vision, enables businesses to optimise operations, enhance employee satisfaction, and deliver superior customer experiences.

Efficiency in Security Operations

Importance of professionalism and efficiency

Site and contract management especially demands professionalism because being on-site, the client has high visibility of the operations of your security companies operations.

Chaos makes clients nervous. In security, efficiency is not negotiable as it’s very much a part of your brand and reputation.

To arrive at efficient security workforce management means planning, using the right technologies like security management software to increase productivity and reduce costs, a focus on employees, and revolving the company around data.

Let’s dig in.

security workforce management

Planning an Efficient Security Workforce Management

Scheduling: Avoiding over-posting and under-posting

To promote efficiency, it’s often important to start with the basics, and what lies at the core of the business, which is the scheduling of guards.

Efficiency is about posting the right grading of your guards. Over posting or under posting means loss of money.

Planning the posting of guards in order to save costs means deploying the right number of staff at each required shift and location, be it day shift or night shift.

Workforce management considerations

What seems like simple scheduling can often become exceptionally complex, and as a result, create unnecessary costs and chaos. Let’s analyse the scheduling maze and how the process should run for efficiency:

Repeated tasks should be automated to save time. Managers should not be continually watching the scheduling roster, but rather keeping an eye on the bigger operational picture. It’s a given that the schedule is a living thing and will change constantly, but you need to make it work for you so that it does not consume your valuable time.

The human element of the security industry means there will always be external factors to keep in mind when scheduling. In addition to requests for leave, unexpected absences, emergencies, no-shows and so on, you also need to remember processes and standards like overtime and non productive time, days off and breaks for each person. To protect your client and your company from an uncovered site, a 24/7 alerting mechanism that is built to help you quickly find a qualified replacement on standby  is essential. In addition, the scheduling process has to be flexible to allow for exceptions.

Adopting security workforce management tools

Before onboarding employees to a new account, it is vital to understand the expectations of the client and how that translates into which skill sets and processes will be required on-site. Precise planning is the order of the day, before the deployment of guards.

Since overtime can be 1.5 or 2 times a regular wage rate, it’s critical to ensure your scheduling process protects the business from overscheduling, or costs will be too high. There are also limits to the amount of overtime a guard can work in terms of legislation.

Effective systems, automated tasks and processes will limit liabilities, but they can still occur. Make sure you add risk factors like this into processes.

Do your homework about systems and integrations: systems must be able to integrate with each other in order for the end to end process to be automated effectively.

The most effective method of addressing the critical function of scheduling and timekeeping for efficiency is to adopt a security workforce management tool like EasyRoster, which is designed to automate repeatable tasks and simplify changes.

Building a Professional Guard Force

Importance of proper scheduling for security staff

Your security guards are the representatives of your security company.

They either inspire trust and confidence in your services, or not.

That has a lot to do with the shift roster.

Scheduling your security staff is vital so that they don’t end up being overworked which leads to poor performance which in turn leads to tarnishing your brand’s reputation.

Neither should staff be underworked or not being utilised fully  so that they don’t earn enough and become disgruntled, leading to possible management and attitude issues which also damages the image of your company.

management software

Using the Right Technologies

Problems with traditional methods

One of the biggest problems in the security industry is that because many companies have grown quickly, they tend to continue doing things the “old way”, which usually involves paper or Excel spreadsheets.

But this can lead to:

  • Missed or double-booked shifts
  • Consuming too much of the scheduling time
  • Spending too much time making adjustments
  • Increased overtime costs due to scheduling errors
  • Increased non productive time due to scheduling errors
  • No real understanding of the health of the operations unit
  • Human error which costs time and money and can lead to auditing issues
  • Frustration by staff
  • Over / under posting
  • Allocating staff to the wrong customer site

Benefits of security management software

Traditional ways of doing things just don’t measure up when compared to the power of technology.

For example, buddy punching is a common problem that can be overcome with biometric clocking technology. Payroll systems can be integrated into other security guard scheduling technology to eliminate human error, decrease time, and increase productivity.

Out of all the technologies, security management software makes the biggest impact on the bottom line, in the shortest space of time. Profit increases because of the software:

  • Saves time and money
  • Streamlines processes
  • Frees up resources
  • Can be accessed from anywhere using a web browser
  • Increases customer satisfaction
  • Helps identify problems
  • Assists in meeting contractual obligations

Security workforce management software is able to integrate with other systems, like payroll, avoiding errors when recapturing data manually. It offers these features:

  • Companies can manage staff at various client locations
  • Time and attendance tracking 
  • Manage absenteeism
  • Prevents buddy clocking
  • Reduces overtime and non production time
  • Over/under posting. Allocating the correct personnel
  • Advanced reporting
  • Payroll systems
  • Site and contract management
  • Employee scheduling

Importance of researching software options

A lot of businesses come to a realisation that they require certain technology management solutions in order to improve processes, but then fail to research the available software to find out which will suit their needs.

No matter which category of software, each varies and it is those variables that can make all the difference to the software optimising workflows, or detracting from them.

So before you buy any technology, first take the time to decide what you need from the software, and then do your homework to find out the features of each to ensure it meets your expectations.

workforce management software

Giving Employees the Right Tools

Automating mundane tasks

One of the biggest mistakes companies make is a failure to remove mundane tasks, and to make employees use outdated or incorrect technology that causes frustration. Or expect tasks to be carried out by employees that don’t have the right tools for the job.

So firstly, if your company is not already using technology to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, your operational costs will become too high to stay competitive.

The ultimate goal is to identify where and when technology can improve operational processes in order to free up your resources and only rely on them for those tasks that require it.

Providing necessary tools and technology

This approach dramatically improves employee engagement, which is key in the security industry which is prone to resource shortages.

Secondly, do all your staff have the tools they need to carry out their duties effectively? It is management’s responsibility to look into this and provide what’s missing, as staff often lack the courage to speak up.

Revolving Operations Around Data

Value of data and analysis

Data tells stories. And you need stories to understand the health of your business, if you’re meeting contractual obligations, and for the purposes of this article, the health of your workforce.

Are your clocking systems working effectively? If there is no data, how would you know?

Typically, many businesses in the security industry do not understand the value of data.

The data that comes from security workforce management software allows discovery, and interpretation of meaningful patterns. The data provides insight to help understand what’s really going on in operations and analysis shows how things can become more efficient.

security guard

Using data for continual improvement and client satisfaction

Not only does data analysis provide a view of the business, but it also provides data that your clients will value, because the data demonstrates to them what they are paying for.

With data insights, your business can provide the client with information about anything related to the service they are paying for, such as the type and number of incidents reported, or the time of day when most incidents are likely to occur.

The more insight your business has about its workforce, the better management can lead.

In addition, the more insights about the security service they are paying for can be presented to clients, plus how resources are being utilised, or where money can be saved, the more likely you are to win their trust and loyalty, and so retain them as clients.

Don’t allow your scheduling and attendance data to go to waste. It tells a meaningful story that has the power to transform your operations and your bottom line.

Make sure you choose the right security workforce management software to streamline actions like scheduling and attendance, then turn the data into a meaningful report that can be used for decision making.

Summary Checklist

Efficient security workforce management encompasses several key components:

  • Building an Efficient Security Guard Force: Recruiting, training, and retaining a skilled and professional security team is fundamental to effective operations and client satisfaction.
  • Utilising the Correct Technology and Workforce Management Software: Invest in technology and workforce management software tailored to your company’s needs. Prioritise solutions with a proven track record, extensive experience, and the capability to support your organisation from implementation through ongoing support.
  • Providing the Right Tools for Employees: Equip your employees with the necessary tools and resources to carry out their duties efficiently and effectively. This includes access to state-of-the-art equipment, training programs, and support systems.
  • Making Data, Analysis, and Reporting a Priority: Place a strong emphasis on data-driven decision-making, continuous improvement, and customer satisfaction. Utilise robust data analysis and reporting capabilities to identify trends, optimise operations, and enhance service delivery.

By adhering to this checklist and partnering with reputable vendors experienced in the security industry, organisations can enhance operational efficiency, drive cost savings, and deliver superior security services to their clients.

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