Renew Your Focus on Reducing Security Guard Turnover

The more people you retain, the fewer you have to hire — and hiring is hard right now.

We may be in a new year, but the effects of 2020 on security contractors are far from over. Unemployment records hit an all-time low last year and as always, you’re trying to reduce security guard turnover. Now, as vaccines are rolling out across the world and the general public resumes normal activity, there is an increasing need for on-site guards, leaving security companies understaffed and finding it hard to get the applicant volume they need to fill positions.

Currently, over 17 million people are receiving unemployment aid of one type or another, including 7.3 million people enrolled in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for gig workers and the self-employed, and 5.6 million enrolled in the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. With these pandemic-related benefits in place, workers are less incentivized to return to work that was considered risky during the pandemic— especially if they’re still providing care for dependents in their household, like school-aged children who are learning remotely. Recent federal data suggests that nearly 50% of public schools are open for full-time, face-to-face classes, which obviously means over 50% are not. Until working parents and caretakers can find stability and normalcy in their private lives, they will be unlikely to return to the job force — particularly to hourly positions.

Clearly, hiring is difficult. It goes without saying that every employee you retain is one less you have to recruit, hire and train. But retention is a challenge unto itself. It’s a constant work in progress that extends beyond on boarding and requires your ongoing time and attention.

Effective communication during the first 90 days of employment decreases your security guard turnover.

A 2019 survey found that 80% of the U.S. workforce reports feeling stressed because of ineffective company communication. And some of the most common reasons cited for leaving a job include the job not being what the employee thought it would be, bad experiences on the job, and a poor fit for company culture. You have expectations for your new hires, but they also have expectations for you. Manage those expectations through effective communication.

Communicating with employees can be tricky for security contractors. Your workforce is distributed across multiple shifts, sites and sometimes even states. The key to keeping in touch with everyone is finding a technology solution that offers a consistent way to communicate with all employees, so everyone has the same information. From your hourly guards to your back-office managers, this makes everyone’s job easier.

Communication isn’t just about sharing schedules and managing job expectations. You should also be listening to employee concerns and reassuring them you’re keeping their input in mind, while working to keep them safe. By implementing a software solution that offers real-time, targeted messaging to your guards, you can touch base frequently, let them know how you’re handling a given situation, or relay important legislative information, forms or changes in policies as they become relevant.

Retention mirrors your employee morale — and high morale leads to referrals.

According to a Forbes article, employee turnover can cost as much as 33% of an employee’s annual salary. In addition to saving you time and money, reducing your security guard turnover and increasing retention numbers are also a reflection of your employees’ overall morale. To put it simply, happy employees stay with their companies. Happy employees are also more productive at work — 13% more productive, in fact.

Knowing that, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that happy employees are also more likely to refer others to apply for posted jobs. Employee referrals are four times more likely to be hired than non-referrals, and can knock up to 40 days off the new employee recruitment timeline. When you’re struggling to fill open shifts, reduce overtime for your current staff, and meet customer expectations, that time saved can make a huge difference to your bottom line.

Retaining your workforce is a critical element to the success of any security business and has a greater reflection on your company’s health than you may have realized. Download our Retention Metrics Cheat Sheet for five calculations to help you dig into your retention data and see where you can make an impact for your business.