How to Recruit and Retain Quality Security Employees

By Jack Thomas, CPP

Hiring from within raises other issues that should be addressed. For example, as managers interview in-house employees, they must be clear that anyone who is being considered may have to wait until a replacement is hired before they can transfer into the new position. Also, managers must stress that the employee may be required to train his or her replacement.

Departing staff. In some instances, despite the best efforts of the company, employees will choose to leave. If the company allows an employee to continue to work after notice has been given, managers should be as cordial with the departing employee as possible. Managers should let the departing employee know that the company wishes them well and should point out the company’s return policy if the company is one that allows former employees to come back, providing that they leave on good terms and that there is an opening for them. Making sure that the relations with the departing employee are positive sets a good example for all remaining employees, showing that the company cares about them and their future, even when it takes them elsewhere. (If, however, the departing employee is not doing the work required or appears to be hurting morale with negative talk, the company may have to ask him or her to leave before the notice period ends.)

Problem staff. Some staff will not be up to the job. How a manager handles a problem employee can also affect department morale and turnover. One of the more difficult decisions managers must make is to replace existing personnel. It is always better to try and salvage an employee if possible. When an employee fails to perform or has become disruptive, managers should try to change the attitude, give more training, or find out what the issue is and correct the problem if possible. If the situation is beyond repair, or if the employee might be dangerous, termination is the only answer. This should be done as professionally and humanely as possible, again working with HR to ensure that the department is following all the applicable employment laws.

The most successful managers understand that their top priority is attracting and retaining good personnel. With a strong team in place, the security department’s goals will be much easier to accomplish. ©Jack Thomas

Jack Thomas, CPP, is general manager for Smith Protective Services, Inc., in Fort Worth, Texas. He is a member of ASIS International.



We must be very careful in "At Will" work states that we include external candidates as well to prevent discrimination. It is very easy to promote within but you must always consider outside candidates. Especially, if you have had a previous reduction in force, lay-offs, etc.

Jim Hovenkamp


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