Even though nearly every company in the security industry shares similar goals – achieve success through providing great service, making smart business decisions and generating profits – there are definitely a number of ways to skin the cat.
Training and education is no exception. While some companies provide a specified path for their employees to take on their training journey, others let the employees take the lead and happily foot the bill along the way.
We’ve rounded up five training best practices from leading security companies for your consideration. One of them might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Train Current Employees to Fill Open Roles
James Lee, owner of Greensboro, N.C.-based Alarmguard Security, stresses that employees leaving is one of the most critical reasons for a business owner to invest in training. The greater the depth of training and experience in your staff, the easier it is to fill vacancies from within.
That particular scenario recently occurred at Alarmguard, and Lee used NTS training to fill the void. "We recently had a long-time service tech leave and, for one year, we tried to hire a replacement with service experience. We could never find the right person,” he says.
At that point, he chose to look within his company. "So I took a tech with four years of experience and sent him to Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance (TSM) and it was very beneficial for him and our company.”
The decision was sound. The employee is thriving in his new role, and the whole company benefits. Investing in your employees, Lee says, not only nurtures their talents, but is also a great morale booster.
Bring Training to the Office
Memphis, TN-based Frase Protection recently brought in NTS to teach a private class – Life Safety Code (LSC) – to all of its employees. "All of our guys took that course,” says Jonathan Frase, owner and president.
Frase says that having NTS come into their office for a private class was a great experience. "That was really great,” he says.
Previously, employees would go out of the office for NTS courses, and when they would come back and report on what they’d learn, their co-workers would have follow up questions. With the private course, it wasn’t an issue. "It brought all of our people together in one room to learn together and to start asking questions together.”
Plus, of course, it’s much more convenient to have the instructor come to you. "One of the things about NTS coming to us was the convenience factor," says Frase, adding it saved the company both time and money.
Make Training as Available as Possible
Vector Security makes training available to its employees in multiple ways, from monthly meetings to sessions with vendors to an online calendar of opportunities.
All Vector offices hold a communications day every month, which is used as a follow up to training and to reinforce best practices. Monthly safety meetings are also conducted, focused on improving things like central station response times.
"We review miscommunication reports and how they handle them,” says Simpson.
For ongoing technical training, Vector partners with their vendors, who remain very involved in the company’s training. Product specific sessions are scheduled based on an office’s specific needs. "We have a good relationship with all our vendors, from sales to technical training,” says Rick Simpson, Vice President of Technical Compliance.
For self-directed training, Vector maintains a company wide intranet with a section that lists online training events. "Any employee can log on and review upcoming webinars, and take them, above and beyond what’s required of their job,” says Tom Rogers, Senior Vice President, Operations Support. To that end, their Information Services Group is continually updating and adding online content.
Chart Your Employees and their Licensing Requirements
For companies operating in multiple states with different licensing requirements, it’s crucial to be able to track what employees have done and what they need.
"It’s something we have to be quite careful of,” says Roy Pollack, the Director of Compliance for Devcon Security Services, who oversees all of the licensing, permitting and certifications. Pollack, who has been an NTS instructor for going on 15 years, says that the company looks to local branch managers who understand the local requirements for their technician training and education.
"There's many different certification requirements,” says Pollack. "We have a chart and we keep it up and who requires what and we try to keep on top of it."
As the company expands across the country, it’s Pollack’s job to make sure they are prepared for local licensing rules and regulations. "It's a matter of making sure we've got all the rules and licensing laws for each state," he says.
At Nashville-based ADS Security, a company with multiple branches, their efforts are managed with a central training hub under the direction of the HR department. Information is gathered from the branch offices, and a schedule/grid is maintained. On a quarterly basis, the schedule is updated on what courses the techs are taking, what they’ve passed, and what they still need to pass – planned a whole year forward.
Their management method works especially well given that ADS operated in several states that legislate technicians and salespeople pass Level 1 within the first year of their employment. "Therefore, we try to schedule those folks within their last six months, at the latest,” says Operations Manager Jim Bayless.
Offer Education to Everyone in the Company
At Norwalk, Conn.-based Security Solutions, Inc., training opportunities aren’t given only to a few employees – they’re available to all.
"We try to spread the training around,” says Bob McVeigh, the company’s VP/General Manager. "There can be a tendency to overload your best guys with all the training, and you want it to be on a more even keel.”
The idea, he says, is that uniform training raises the average for the company, and doesn’t just focus on a couple of top technicians.