With many security firms battling low personnel retention and engagement, the knock-on effect is no-call no-shows, vacant shifts, and other scheduling problems. But what can security service providers do to a) tackle immediate problems with scheduling and b) work to resolve the underlying challenges that cause scheduling issues in the first place?
Unchecked, scheduling problems can lead to a great deal of manual work to fill vacant shifts and no-shows, distracting you from value-adding tasks. Worse still, it may lead to errors such as a mismatch between resource allocation and customer requirements, unnecessary overtime spending, or undermine SLA performance if shifts can’t be filled. From a compliance point of view, you may also find yourself in breach of collective bargaining agreement clauses around shift replacement priority, further increasing exposure to liability.
Regular no-call no-shows may also be a symptom of a wider malaise among your personnel or a structural problem in your operations.
Dealing with scheduling challenges
As we’ve discussed in the past, the right security workforce management software can help you manage scheduling more efficiently.
With technology driving your scheduling, you can view personnel availability and vacant shifts in real time. You can enforce minimum training or skills requirements per site, and also view when overtime, or other premiums are going to be incurred. With a view over vacant shifts, you can trigger shift offering for open shifts where available personnel are contacted en masse by SMS about open shifts and awarded the work on a first-come-first-served basis, or send SMS sequentially. You can further tailor your automated shift offering to cascade the alerts sequentially to different batches of security personnel, as well as offering premium rates to help fill tricky shifts.
With access to real-time operational data, you’ll soon be able to spot any recurring trends in your scheduling that may prompt a rethink of your staffing operations.
Attracting and retaining talent
As mentioned, no-call no-shows may also be an indicator of security personnel sentiment. The security industry is notorious for high turnover and recruitment is a perennial problem. As a security manager, it’s traditionally been difficult to walk the line between tight margins and keeping your best resources. But with today’s technology, it has become easier to create an environment that favors retention.
With actual scheduling data driving your payroll preparation, you can use this payroll-ready data to run accurate, regular payroll that gains you a reputation as a responsible and reliable employer. Equally, by limiting overtime, you can make progress on distributing your shifts more evenly, therefore keeping more of your people happy.
Finally, tracking and analyzing operational data can help you recognize and reward high-performing individuals on your books and incentivize fidelity in ways that make sense for your business model.
Taking a holistic approach to security
It’s tempting to try and tackle scheduling in isolation, given how business critical it is. But it’s only when you pursue a joined-up approach to your security operations that you can really resolve the underlying issues that drive scheduling problems, and deal with any unavoidable challenges effectively.
Technology allows you to make the necessary connections between your frontline and back office to make strategic decisions around resource allocation, and make sure you keep both your people and your customers happy.