We can design and install a bespoke, high end security system incorporating smoke alarms, CCTV and access control, but if your staff aren’t on board with it, and they don’t understand why it’s important to use it properly, you’re fighting a losing battle against crime, natural disasters or acts of God. Your security system can only ever be as effective as the people using it, so how do you ensure that your staff are making the most of the system and its features?
The key to this is training, training, and a bit more training. We’ve all been on training courses for various things related to business, and we know that some are better than others. It’s fair to assume that the most successful training sessions were the ones where the information was tailored specifically for your situation and needs. It’s great being able to explain how a system works, and the technology behind it, but the end users don’t care about any of that, they’re interested in how it affects them, and how it can make their life easier or solve specific problems.
When you’re training your staff on a new security system, try to use real world examples to bring the important aspects of the system to life. You could say that the CCTV patrols the perimeter and records any and all movement, but your staff will take that information on board much better if you can link the need for a CCTV system to an incident they’ll remember, such as a break in or vandalism.
Practice scenarios are also useful, especially when implementing a whole new system and process. Let staff practise setting and unsetting the alarm, and locking the door within the allotted time. If there are things to be done on entry to the site, such as running a backup of the CCTV system, make sure this is included as a step in the morning access protocol and create copies of these for staff to get familiar with. Checklists as reminders at certain points around the building can be useful, but watch out for over-familiarity. Sometimes, people become so used to doing something that bad habits can creep in, and they disregard the reminders you have helpfully stuck around the building. One way of ensuring staff remain familiar with the process is to allocate the task of wiping down or checking the fastening of the signs on a rota basis. This forces them to pay attention to the signs and refreshes the procedures in their minds.
Encourage questions during your training session, either while you’re talking (use post-it notes to create a question park you can come back to at the end) or in a dedicated Q&A session. Your staff on the ground may come up with questions you hadn’t considered, and it’s equally important to ask for their input when you are drawing up the requirements of a security system.
It’s worth having a short refresh at your monthly meetings, and you can do this in the form of a quiz, or even a short song if you’re musically minded. If you make it fun, they’re more likely to remember it, whereas a boring, dull read through of the rules is likely to get people snoozing off.
If and when there are security incidents, encourage your team to work together to run through the procedures for dealing with them, and to suggest improvements that will close any gaps in your security arrangements that may have been taken advantage of by criminals. Using real world scenarios really helps emphasise why security procedures exist and what they are meant to do; this makes it more real to your staff, keeping them on board with your security arrangements.