How to provide the correct security training program for your personnel

Corporations and organizations operating in an ever-changing global environment have learned not to underestimate the security threats to personnel and business continuity. These numerous threats can range from petty crime and safety oversights in the workplace to militancy related attacks and civil unrest. No matter the scale, each security or safety breach is one that may have resonating impacts on your clients, on operations and on the people you employ.

For this reason, maintaining your duty of care by properly training staff is critical to mitigating risks before they happen, and to minimize the impact during and after they occur. Whether employing an external company to conduct your corporate security training, or managing training internally, the most critical mistake most organizations make is failing to create a customized training that fits a variety of relevant factors.

Who is the Security Training intended for?

Although your security staff may face the brunt of the responsibility ensuring the work environment and personnel safety, all employees and staff regardless of their positions have a part to play in their personal security as well as the handling of risks during an extreme event. However, general staff must be trained differently than security personnel.

General Staff and Employees

When training employees to support security efforts, one has to understand that the training’s main purpose is to improve employee security awareness rather than physically train participants to counteract threats. Trained employees should be equipped to respond to questions such as: What should I do in case of an emergency such as an active shooter? How can I recognize suspicious behavior and what protocol should I follow? Meaning it is all about information, scenarios, and how to address them. General staff must be trained in understanding the unique dangers that can impact them and how they are expected to respond to safeguard their own security until such threats have been neutralized.

Security Personnel

Security training programs for professional security personnel should focus on crisis management and be far more detailed, down to exact operational procedures and specific threat scenarios. Clearly defining the security team’s job definition, action/reaction scenarios and expectations, routine and emergency protocols, incident handling, etc. will create a cohesive team working to eliminate threats. Security personnel training should include modules on topics such as:

  • Suspicious behavioral indicators
  • Relevant SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures)
  • Crisis support (ransom, hostage, kidnapping handling awareness)
  • Action/reaction scenario training (active shooter, terrorism, public disorder, etc.)
  • Weapons, Explosives and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) recognition

What are the Relevant Security Threats in Your Industry?

Once you have addressed the specifics of who you intend to train and how, you then can create clear threat definitions. Taking into consideration the industry in which your company does business will help determine what kind of risks your company is most exposed to. You can then tailor your training approach to primarily focus on the more likely threat scenarios and prepare accordingly.

The Hospitality Industry – Open Doors, Open Access

Welcome! The hospitality industry depends on public access without interferences, and is open to all. Types of businesses that are available to the general public such as hotels, restaurants, cinemas, etc. are more exposed than others due to the relative ease of entry without detection or observation. This type of business suffers from a wide set of risks, from common street criminals to carefully planned terror attacks, and often requires a broader set of security training considerations than other more private industries. Employees must be trained on risk management and situational awareness in order to understand how to assess situations and make decisions under stress.

Such places often deal with high foot traffic, and unlike other industries, the customer experience is paramount and must be considered in the training plan of security personnel and staff alike. Such businesses must prepare security personnel to deal with large crowds and respond to versatile scenarios to protect clients – all while maintaining the comfort levels and goals of the hospitality standard.

The Transportation Industry – High Speed, High Risk

All Aboard! Like the hospitality industry, companies that operate in the transportation sector (be it air, maritime, or ground transport) face large surges in traffic and must consider the customer experience. However, unlike the leisurely pace of the hospitality industry, transportation companies face the factor of space limitations and time pressure. With the industry dependent on punctual departures and arrivals, personnel must be trained on conduct at checkpoints and counter surveillance to quickly and efficiently spot unusual behavior without causing delays.

Not only does your staff face the challenges of time constraints, they must often operate in the small confined spaces of airplane cabins, train cars, etc. All staff must identify and respond to risks given a small window of time and compact environments. Given the space limitations, staff and security personnel must understand the impact an emergency event or potential crime may have on passengers and surroundings. Being able to contain an incident can be critical in minimizing damage and injuries. These considerations as well as interpreting situations involving different populations with various cultures, socio-economic statuses and the occasional language barrier, require personnel to be well trained in cross cultural awareness and tactical preparations to understand a variety of diverse situations and how to respond to each.

The Infrastructure Industry – Plenty of Space, Plenty of Weaknesses

Under construction! Infrastructure projects are usually set on large sites and in less central, and often hostile, locations. These isolated locations with their large perimeters make it harder to monitor the entire area, allowing potential criminals, kidnappers, politically motivated attackers, and terrorists relatively easy access. The passing through of day workers, vendors, and sub-contractors without proper vetting makes it hard to identify unwanted visitors. Furthermore, the lack of technological or physical security infrastructure makes surveillance and regulation that much harder. General staff, often unaware of sophisticated security protocol must be given clear guidelines and routines to follow to enhance the worksite’s security. Companies must conduct penetration and stress testing followed by proper training for staff and security personnel to understand the constraints and weaknesses of the work site in order to combat these security weaknesses.

Often, a risk in this industry is public opinion when projects become controversial in terms of the environment, sensitive cultural conflicts, and more. In these cases, establishments are likely to be targeted by radical groups. Extremists might not always attempt to harm employees of those industries, but will try to sabotage equipment, block access to the facility, or disrupt its ongoing activity.  Employees and the security team must be trained on action/reaction scenarios to understand the political nature of the project and the threats it insights. Additionally, a threat assessment must be reviewed in order for security to understand possible illegal breaches into the perimeter and buildings of the site.

The Corporate Sector – Efficient Procedures, Efficient Costs

Pleasure doing business! Corporate offices are a relatively more secure environment in comparison with those mentioned above. They are generally set in smaller premises, traffic is pretty consistent and predictable, and the relevant risks are fewer, making such threats as petty crime less of a concern for staff and security personnel.

On the other hand, businesses in this type of industry tend to adhere to consistent procedures and make it easier for terrorists or politically motivated attackers to predict activity and routines. Additionally, the security in such places is usually considered a financial burden in the eyes of senior management making it hard to justify large amounts of security expenditures. Thus, proper training becomes paramount in the efficiency and productivity of a successful security program for corporate offices, and to ensure security teams do not inhibit the work process of the rest of the company. The use of Operational Expectation Papers with different command and control measures, relevant threat scenarios, and a compilation of simulations portfolio will create efficient clearly defined security procedure to maximize efficiency and minimize chaos.

Threats to Your Business – Be Aware, Be Prepared

Understanding security inside-out means knowing it is constantly changing and that staff and personnel have to be periodically retrained. MAX Security Solutions’ years of knowledge and experience are available for you, as a business owner or security executive, offering intelligence, consulting services, and on-ground expertise in order to implement the most suitable security training program for your personnel.