The Foundation for Advancing Security Talent (FAST) recently held its first annual National Security Technician Day and recently announced the introduction of the Security Technician of the Year Award. For this month’s Workforce Strategies column, the Security Industry Association (SIA) focused on the realities of finding, hiring, training and retaining (and growing) security technicians — a role we all agree is essential to the success of a business and the security of our customers.
We spoke with Ken Kocher, founder and president of Force Security Solutions and a member of the FAST Board of Directors, to get his insights on hiring technicians today.
SIA: What’s it like hiring for security technicians in today’s job market? Is it as tough as we’re hearing?
KOCHER: Just finding people who want to work is difficult enough. Finding qualified security technicians is even harder. Good security technicians are not falling out of trees — we need to start developing the next generation of security technicians today in our local high schools, trade schools, community colleges and other venues so that our industry can keep up with the demand. FAST is a great resource and will hopefully only get better over time.
SIA: Where are you finding success in locating prospective technicians for your company?
KOCHER: We hire people with no experience and have developed a program in house using the training resources the Electronic Security Association and SIA have provided to us as a member. We look for people who have the will and work hard to give them the skill.
SIA: How much experience are you looking for? And do they need to bring those technician skills, or do you take more of an approach that “if they have the right attitude and some general aptitude, we’ll train them on the techniques and technology they need to know?”
“Good security technicians are not falling out of trees — we need to start developing the next generation of security technicians today in our local high schools, trade schools, community colleges and other venues so that our industry can keep up with the demand.
KOCHER: We believe that attitude determines your altitude. Training is mostly in the field, with some in classroom. With all the demand, it’s difficult to take a tech out of the field. They can learn a lot from other experienced technicians and just by doing it every day.
SIA: What does your retention strategy look like for your existing technicians? Once you’ve found (and grown) a good technician, how do you ensure they become a long-term team member? How do you continue to invest in them and their future?
KOCHER: This is the hardest part in today’s market economy. [Technicians] will want to leave for a few dollars more but always end up wanting to come back. In the end, it is often more than just the money. We try to take care of our techs and understand the challenges life brings, so we are flexible. We offer a four-day work week so that they always have a three-day weekend, pay 100 percent of their health insurance and try to do quarterly events at a local bowling alley, a brewery or someplace fun. We also do a “tech of the quarter” and provide a bonus if you’re that tech. We have a saying around here: “The grass is not greener on the other side. It’s greener where you water it.”