The first three months are critical to the success of a new monitoring center employee, believes Diebold’s Bob Carfolo.
PHOTO COURTESY OF DIEBOLD INC.
Monitoring center employees are a security provider’s most valuable resource for protecting clients’ enterprises, assets, people and customers. That’s why it’s so important for providers to ensure employees are committed to their jobs and motivated to deliver exemplary customer service.
To achieve a high level of employee commitment, Diebold understands that security providers must promote learning, provide challenges, cultivate teamwork, celebrate accomplishments and focus on continuous improvement. Ultimately, maintaining a qualified and motivated workforce requires careful attention to employee training, development and retention initiatives.
Comprehensive training ensures that everyone is prepared to go above and beyond when responding to and solving customers’ most complex challenges. Adult learning is a challenge, and it requires several different approaches. Training programs should include facilitated and self-directed courses designed to keep employees up-to-date with the latest skills, technology and certifications required to excel at their jobs.
While it all starts with “hiring right,” the first three months are critical to the success of a new employee. This period of onboarding is one of the most crucial stages at which a security provider can nurture talent and immerse employees in the company’s mission. New employees need to gain a full understanding of monitoring procedures, security protocols and customer expectations. Orientation should involve intensive classroom and hands-on training related to phone skills, operating systems and customer service.
Even after employees successfully complete their onboarding requirements, their education is far from complete. Employee training should continue indefinitely as part of a continuous learning environment.
To keep employees engaged, security providers should offer numerous opportunities for personnel to advance their professional skills and careers. In addition, providers can empower employees to facilitate their own career development by giving them a direct stake in mapping their future.
Online resources can enable employees to take ownership in their professional development. Such resources may include access to career opportunities, employee referral programs, training modules, preparation courses for professional licenses and more.
Professional development opportunities should span the ranks. Dispatchers and customer service representatives can always benefit from enhancing their communication, software and technology skills. At the same time, managers and supervisors need to work on developing their leadership and communication styles.
Security providers also can benefit from cross-training monitoring center employees in multiple areas such as dispatching, programming and employee supervision. Such training enables staff to acquire additional skills, network with other departments, assist with overflow work as needed and prepare for future promotion opportunities.
As vital as training and career development are to expanding the skill sets of a workforce, retaining those highly trained employees is arguably just as — if not more — crucial. Obviously, retaining employees helps a security provider reduce costs associated with recruitment, onboarding and training. More importantly, retaining personnel can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction. Longer-term employees have familiarity with the customized security procedures for each monitoring client, enabling them to respond appropriately and more quickly to events. In addition, despite the capabilities of today’s sophisticated security systems, a trained monitoring professional is still the best resource for recognizing situational anomalies, verifying security events and initiating security protocols.
Employee retention plans should encourage timely, objective feedback. Incentives like tuition reimbursement and customer service awards may entice employees to stay with a company. In addition, maintaining open and honest communication, routinely informing employees of business updates and helping them understand their roles can go a long way toward retaining them.
Peer recognition programs are also a viable retention tool. Through such programs, employees can nominate their peers for recognition of outstanding performance, customer service, resourcefulness and other qualities. Rewards may include callouts in employee communications and even points that are redeemable for various prizes.
A security monitoring provider’s talent is a key differentiator in the marketplace. As such, providers need to ensure they are creating cultures of high performance to exceed their customers’ needs. Providing continuous training and career development opportunities enables monitoring center employees to advance the quality of their work, increase their morale and deliver superior customer service. By augmenting employees’ skill sets and recognizing their customer service contributions, security providers are more likely to retain talented employees and operate successful monitoring centers.