Operating in 20 countries worldwide and with a corporate headquarters in New York City, Foot Locker is an American sportswear and footwear retailer that was founded in 1974. With significant subsidiaries that have homes in malls across the globe, Foot Locker is a multi-billion-dollar Fortune 500 organization. The company has a geographically-diverse employee base as well as a corporate office that has individualized communication needs that vary from that of its mall-based locations. As such, Foot Locker was searching for a high-quality communication method that could accurately and efficiently communicate with employees when sending emergency messages.

Today, Foot Locker security has developed targeted messages for a variety of situations that its organization has the potential to experience. For instance, corporate messaging centers around aggressive visitor and disgruntled employee situations, as well as natural disasters or environmental challenges, such as floods or power outages. At the store level, security is ready to immediately deploy messages related to hostile situations that could put employees and shoppers at risk.

Diverse Challenges and Issues

Acting as Director of Security for Foot Locker, Joe Castellano has a long and rich history working in law enforcement and in other investigative capacities. An alumnus of the New York Police Department, Mr. Castellano has also served banking giant Lehman Brothers and other companies in developing and implementing security procedures and processes. When Mr. Castellano first came on board with Foot Locker, the biggest challenge he had to face was figuring out how to communicate a message to mixed audiences operating across multiple facilities as well as corporate headquarters.

Ultimately, Mr. Castellano was very focused on ensuring that Send Word Now was utilized for emergency situations specifically. “Foot Locker is a unique company. We primarily operate in mall settings, so we must consider the active shooter situations that unfortunately happen in places such as this. Moreover, we didn’t want to use Send Word Now in a ‘watered down’ capacity. It was important to ensure that if an employee received a message, they knew it was urgent. Therefore, Send Word Now is primarily used by Foot Locker in impactful situations. When a person receives a message via this platform, they know they have to stop what they are doing and pay attention,” reports Mr. Castellano.

Seamless and Targeted Solutions

Security forces at Foot Locker enjoy a variety of benefits through Send Word Now. The team is able to easily customize messages based on internal and external situations that could impact facilities, offices, and stores. They have built awareness campaigns through the platform that have had the full backing of executive management, and the system seamlessly integrates with their human resources processes. This particular point means that the risk of redundancies and inaccurate information is minimized and avoided because updates to Send Word Now are part of the employee onboarding and offboarding process. From a testing standpoint, the security team can send sample messages that allows them to easily identify, recognize, and address potential gaps in emergency processes before they become an issue in the heat of the moment.

“We primarily use the Send Word Now system for emergency management. Of course, in that regard it is probably underutilized—because it is valuable,” stated Mr. Castellano. “But for the moment, this is where our focus lies, and it works quite well.”

Send Word Now: A Valuable Employee Retention Device?

When reflecting upon his years of work within security and law enforcement, Mr. Castellano has a hard time recalling what his professional life was like before technology enabled him to do his job better. “It’s amazing to think of how far technology has come. I mean, how did we used to reach 3,000 people in an instant? How did we communicate in the blink of an eye? These systems are amazing—and powerful. Send Word Now is a game changer.”

Of course, it must also be mentioned that Mr. Castellano believes that Send Word Now not only aids in his success as Director of Security for the multi-national brand, but also provides for his employer to retain him. With a hearty laugh, Mr. Castellano said, “Without Send Word Now, I would quit.”