The fight for hourly wage talent isn’t new to the services sector. Labor is still often difficult to come by and even harder to sustain. For security professionals, today’s landscape is especially challenging.

Employees have a new perspective on what they want from their work experience, how much they work and where they work, and they have an increasing desire to achieve more work-life balance.

What has the security industry learned about talent retention over the past few years?

To retain talent while continuing to elevate the security operation, security leaders need to focus on the things that will make the most impact. Technology is one way providers are securing a competitive edge. Digitization of employee tools and security capabilities can help the industry with: 

  • Improved employee satisfaction and performance.
  • Efficiencies in security operations.
  • Data analytics that aid decision-making.

Boosting employee satisfaction with technology

A number of security companies have responded to the labor shortage by increasing wages to attract and retain talent. While in today’s environment, competitive wages must be part of any talent acquisition strategy, it should not be the only consideration. Creating a sustainable workforce requires more investment in multiple areas of employee growth.

What earns the long-term loyalty of guards? A focus on their experience.

Many elements contribute to their experience, and direct, immersive access to technology is one of them. In life and at work, there is an expectation that everything will be easily accessible and available on-demand.

For onsite teams, quick and easy access to job-related tools and company updates is even more important for maintaining employees’ connection to the organization and culture. On the back end, apps or similar resources can be deployed to enable field teams to access everything in one place, including scheduling, payroll, and company news and information.

There are also front-end technology tools that can make security programs and officer jobs easier and improve employee engagement. Investing in modern security tools backed by data analytics can enhance business operations and employee satisfaction.

Merging talent and technology for better performance

Technology has the power to boost the employee experience and create better-performing employees.

By collecting and analyzing data, employees are better able to forecast security issues to make informed decisions. Combined with automation and smart technology, companies can work more efficiently and offset the shortage of skilled labor.

Examples of technology in action include:

Automation and intelligent spaces

Technologies like connected cameras, facial recognition, access control and more can be integrated as part of a larger system in which data is used to drive efficiencies.

Within the security environment, this can bring new intelligence to operational functions, such as concierge services. For example, remote reception visitor management systems can provide traditional reception services with the flexibility of not having an onsite worker present. A self-service kiosk allows multiple visitor lobbies to be managed through live video feeds overseen by remote security officers.

At the same time, system data can enhance intelligence about facility access to enable better security and facility management. This system integration can enable early detection of operational threats, such as leaks and trigger shut-off before a catastrophe.

Sensors and smart technology

Even before consumers became accustomed to the benefits of sensors and smart tech, they had already become a centerpiece of many security implementations. Driven by analytic triggers, sensors can alert remote security professionals of an atypical event in a number of areas, including facility perimeters, reception or entry areas.

These tech-enabled capabilities serve as a force multiplier for onsite guarding, and they provide work-model options for security talent.

Applying technology without losing the human element

Even as security implements technology to improve employee experience, productivity, efficiency and the performance of the security operation, there is no substitute for the human side of security.

While hardware and software bring predictability, control and fewer variables, the merging of technology with human talent is key. Alone, information from security devices and systems is just data. Coupling it with talent that extrapolates key points, recognizes trends and makes decisions is the key to transforming it into insights. Empowered, experienced talent takes data to the next level.

A blend of technology with services like onsite, remote and mobile guarding can provide new options for staffing — options that can help overcome labor challenges while creating meaningful operational efficiencies. A clear understanding of security goals ensures the right technology is deployed to deliver the optimal mix of prevention, deterrence, data and protection of assets.

As the industry moves from “Observe and Report” to “Anticipate and Respond,” having the right combination of technology, intelligence and talent will enable organizations to adeptly navigate the challenges of the labor shortage era and beyond.