Security professionals today have no choice but to be multitasking hybrids.

After more than 20 years of security industry experience, I can say this with conviction. According to some experts, the security industry is growing and changing so rapidly, the sector faces hurdles in hiring and retaining enough quality employees. We hear this concern often when it comes to the hiring of front-line staff, but I would argue that this challenge applies to the entire industry.

So if we want to build teams for a successful future, what qualities should we look for in our new hires?

Comfortable with technology

As the industry evolves and adopts technology (more or less quickly, depending on the case), success demands that industry professionals evolve along with it.

Technology may come in the form of unmanned vehicles (drones and robots), the latest in biometrics, cutting-edge Video Management Systems (VMS), or data-harnessing workforce management software, to name only a few innovations. Whatever technological tool is selected, a security professional needs to be comfortable exploiting its advantages to the fullest.

If these technologies are poorly applied by the physical security sector, then security plans and programs will have gaps, and thus assets will be exposed to a greater risk due to inadequately addressed vulnerabilities.

In tune with response teams

In addition to being aware of the latest technology, physical security professionals need to have a varied perspective on security incidents and response. Whether professionals are actively involved or not in physically responding to an incident, they must be in tune with what it means to do so. As the security professional moves from practitioner to manager and back again, job profiles may change but the wealth of information that they have grows and cannot be denied or lost.

Possessing a global view of risk

Why Attracting Top Talent is Essential to the Survival of Your Security Business
Why Attracting Top Talent is Essential to the Survival of Your Security Business

As general risk levels increase around the world, it becomes much more important that those working in the sector evolve. Threats can come from a variety of places. When we take into account the evolution of the Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM) model, we are forced to recognize those threats, irrespective of where and how the issues manifest themselves.

For those not familiar with ESRM, this is how ASIS International describes it: “… ESRM is both a philosophy and a management system that recognizes that security issues should not be stove-piped. It is a risk-based approach to holistically managing the varied security risks in an organization through the application of globally established and accepted risk principles.”

When you consider that “ESRM embraces all aspects of security management: physical security, cyber security, information security, loss prevention, asset management, threat management, resilience, workplace violence, fraud, brand protection, travel safety, and so on”, it becomes even more apparent that the definition of a talented physical security professional is evolving.

Fluent in boardroom conversation

To this changing world and job description, add the fact that more and more corporate security departments and security service providers are being evaluated based on widely used business metrics. Terms such as Return On Investment (ROI), Key Performance Indicator (KPI), and Service Level Agreement (SLA) can no longer be foreign to true professionals.

Security departments need to be service-minded and aligned tightly with general corporate goals. Since service providers act as an extension of corporate security programs, providers have no choice but to support their work and performance with hard data and measurable results.

A proposed HR approach

Propelled by professionalization and technological change, the industry continues to evolve. Technology and change need qualified human interaction, analysis, and application to be optimized. For security professionals driven to thrive in this “survival of the fittest” turmoil, talented people are required!

So you need to find and keep security professionals that as a team allow you to benefit from the right knowledge and diverse perspectives arising from a mix of ages, backgrounds, and experiences.

When you have a talented person on board, keep’em! Strive to be an “Employer of Choice.” Adopt the cliché: “Train them so that they could leave, treat them so they stay.” That approach is vital to overall security, profitability, and industry growth.