It’s a Hard Job
It’s a hard job, employees think that you are only slowing them down in their daily routines – fire alarm, evacuation, and shelter in place drills. Let’s face it – your job is telling people what they can and cannot do. Asking for volunteers for fire wardens and searchers is sometimes like pulling teeth. Sometimes you are looked at being an annoyance – (I can’t open this door without security and they take forever!). Some may think you are a drain on the company bottom line. It’s not easy being security.
So how do you change the mindset?
Be aware of your brand. Your brand is made up of employees having perceptions of your team, their personalities, likes and dislikes, how they react to an emergency or a simple request by an employee, how they dress, walk and talk. My guess is when someone mentions the accounting department it will probably elicit some type of feeling, an identity that you can relate to. Same goes for every department within your organization. You develop an image and mindset of what will happen. The same is true of security. When they hear the word security they have a mental image – good or bad.
How do you know?
How do you know if your security team has a bad or good brand? Ask. I suggest creating a survey and sending it to employees in either print or digital format via email. Analyze the answers. If what you read is negative and misunderstood, you have an opportunity to change what employees think of your department.
Develop your brand
Start with the foundation.
Your brand is your DNA, your core. When it comes to establishing your brand, you should ask these important questions: Why do we do what we do? What are your values and beliefs? What is your department’s personality?
Sometimes the mission and vision are crafted by the C-suite, even if they are, create your own style, personality, of what makes the security team. Now, this probably won’t be an easy task, but all of these pieces – what makes you tick, your personality, etc. – are absolutely imperative to defining or determining your brand. You’ll need to set aside some time to figure this out. Off-site meetings are a great way to clear the mind of the daily routine and brainstorm. Leverage corporate learning – use in-house, or bring in an outside consultant, or attend e-learning sessions from a local college to help you figure out what a brand is and how you can develop yours.
Once you have determined your brand, you will have to hone it so that you can effectively communicate it to peers, employees, clients, visitors, and other stakeholders. The reason is quite simple: No one knows who you are and what you are all about – until you succinctly tell them directly and indirectly.
Be Your Brand and Influence Others
Be proactive, not reactive. Consistently exceed expectations; be professional, courteous, have a smile on your face, say good morning, dress professional – if you wear your own suits get them dry cleaned, put a little starch in your collar, “dress for success”, and put a little shine on your shoes. Be responsible for your own id, ego, and superego. Be your own brand and represent the brand of the security team.
Security team members should have the right training. Of course the obvious – medical, weapons, etc., but just as important are these skills – like being an effective communicator or enhancing your everyday interactions with employees by taking writing, grammar and speech courses.
Provide value and build trust. Market your brand.
Branding is the activity you perform to get your brand in front of employees eyes and ears.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Create and deliver a monthly newsletter with content that can be used for employees at the office and at home. Working with your marketing/communications dept. craft a security message that includes safety checklists, when are the next fire warden meetings, and other safety tips and advice for the office.What is going on from a security and community standpoint that can affect or impact the employees.
- Create safety checklists and again using your marketing/communications dept or an outside vendor, have them printed on all floors, near kitchen areas, bathrooms, and cafeterias.
- Set up a few small casual info sessions for employees to come share what is on their mind. Listen to their ideas and security concerns. I have personally seen these sessions work very well. Make an announcements weeks before, and during each monthly manager meeting. I would recommend having the sessions during break or lunch time so that employees won’t miss time from their work.Here you can share your agenda, goals, and strategies for employees safety and security.
- Create your own digital platform – an intranet or internal website. The website would be your main communications tool. Using the newsletters and other marketing material to lead the employees to visit the website. Meetings schedule, Fire wardens, room/bathroom searcher sign ups forms, safety checklists, parking passes, etc. Any services that you provide and that can be converted to digital media should be on your website.
- Get some time in front of senior management meetings. I’m not suggesting for this to be a weekly effort, but perhaps once a month. Share what your department is working on, quarterly plans, updates on security implementations, projects, risk management, and mitigation.
- Use polls and surveys to include the employees in some of the decision-making processes in certain projects.