On today’s episode, we talk about the importance of gathering feedback from your officers. Having an open-door policy is absolutely vital for long-term success in the security industry. Many company owners want to establish a chain of command and rely on their supervisors, but you have to be able to communicate with your guards as well.
How To Implement An Open-Door Policy
Having an open door does not mean your guards should be coming directly to you for every minor issue. There should be a clear chain of escalation, whereby they go to supervisors first with questions regarding scheduling, processes, etc. However, I had a policy that any guard could come to me if their complaint to a supervisor wasn’t adequately addressed in 48 hours.
“I wanted them to know that if they felt like they weren’t being heard they could come talk to me,” I tell Johnny.
This openness needs to be a part of the culture. That starts with you being willing to listen and engage with employees, and it should trickle down through the supervisors working hand in hand with guards to create positive outcomes. An open door policy is one of the best ways to improve your security guard management efforts and ultimately improve your business.
When Feedback Makes A Big Difference
I had a conversation earlier this week about a company that had a major issue with a supervisor. This was a guy who had started out with the owner and had the trust of that owner. This supervisor was in charge of scheduling as well as supervision, so the security guards were always afraid to speak up for fear of getting a bad schedule. It didn’t help that the supervisor had poor communication skills.
This culture of fear created a toxic atmosphere at the company. Turnover increased significantly as guards left to work in a friendlier environment, and job performance suffered.
Unfortunately, this owner never got any feedback from his guards. It wasn’t until clients started complaining that he realized there was a real problem. Eventually, things got so bad that he was forced to fire the supervisor, and that immediately provided a lift to employees.
Only after all this happened did the owner finally call some of the guards that had quit and find out why. Sure enough, they all told him it was problems with the supervisor.
Feedback Creates Accountability
It’s easy as an owner to get caught up in the day to day of managing accounts and finding new business, but you also need processes in place to hold supervisors accountable.
“A fish rots from the head down,” says Johnny. “If there’s problems in your supervision, there’s probably problems in the field, and if you aren’t willing to be gathering that feedback from your officers, it might go on longer than you, as a business owner, would like.”
One great way to create this accountability is conducting exit interviews with guards that quit or are fired. You want to know what went wrong with this employee, especially if it turns out it’s because a supervisor is mistreating them.
Beyond holding supervisors accountable, feedback increases accountability to customers. Guards in the field will usually pick up on property-specific issues that you, dealing with many properties, might not catch.
There are a number of great ways to communicate and get feedback from officers. Obviously, nothing can replace a good face-to-face, but we’ve also seen customers create separate properties in our incident reporting software that are just used for guards to leave feedback, speeding up the process. Whatever works best for you, just as long as everybody in the organization gets heard.