11 Considerations for Transitioning to a New Security Contracting Agency
Transitioning to a new security contractor can be tricky. Ensure a seamless process with maximum security by following these tips.
As you consider the need for security staffing, a request for a proposal is highly recommended. The request for proposal should outline and detail the services desired, insurance requirements, terms/conditions, and applicable contractual obligations (what will be provided, if anything). You should identify tiers of officers and outline all duties with expanded responsibilities and traits.
Once you have identified a need for a new security contractor, planning is key. Consider outlining the overall process and establishing key milestone dates — agreed upon by all parties involved — in a clearly written document. The contractor should:
- Eliminate hidden costs. Identify and articulate all officer-required duties and what resources are needed for them to perform effectively in your initial request for a services proposal. This can include company-provided vehicles (whether car, Segway, or bicycle), technology, and related maintenance activities.
- Identify and introduce all key personnel that will be engaged throughout the transition. You should meet the key players before a contract is signed.
- Conduct a cursory survey of your location by the key contractor employees. Remember, they will not know or understand everything until they are on site 30-90 days. However, they should be able to make recommendations and have observations about the existing site and operation. Give them knowledge and expect them to give you input on previous challenges.
- Security analysis/site survey: Oral or written, what do you want? The contractor should give suggestions and recommendations on any concerns you have and any deficiencies they uncovered.
- Post orders/standard operating procedures: After the survey and security analysis, the post orders can be updated. Post orders, company and contractor rules and regulations and the duties and responsibilities of the officers assigned. Post orders are living/breathing documents that need to be kept up to date. Every officer assigned should have access to them and they should be in hard copy and on-line. Use them to test officers on duties and procedures.
- Recruitment: The contractor can now complete their recruitment process. They should know now what type of individuals are not acceptable and who are. Where do they recruit from? What resources do they have? Who are their Human Resources/Recruiters? Are they/did they visit the site? What percentage of existing staff will they bring to the site? Expect a mixture of their veteran officers and some who are brand new to the contractors' company. During recruitment, ensure you communicate the people you want to keep, because there is no guarantee, unless you vocalize your wants.
- Initiate hiring. Indicate whether you would like to meet the candidates or not. Remember, meeting is not the same as interviewing as the goal is to minimize co-employment concerns. Meeting the candidates can be highly valuable as it helps contractors better understand who you are looking for in a candidate. We also recommend over-staffing. Experience teaches us that 25-40 percent of candidates drop out either prior to or immediately after site placement. Ask to view the testing results and verify if the contractor conducts any type of background screening on potential candidates.
- Foster effective training. Officers should be trained and orientated to the contractor company's policies and procedures before they arrive on-site. They should have received basic security training, testing, and a review course to ensure a base-level understanding of security/safety best practices. While the officers should have some basic knowledge of your site at this point, the initial on-site training should be designed in alignment with the established post orders and provide everyone with deeper, hands-on knowledge of your facility and site location. Be sure to emphasize how (written or verbal) and who they should direct questions and concerns to (whether that individual is you or another member of your team).
- Service start-up. The most ideal days to initiate start-up service are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays. Discuss the date and time with both the incoming contracting vendor with a new contracting company. Remind the outgoing company that their performance and your recommendation will be based on their cooperation during the transition and start-up.
- Establish protocols for officer management and supervision. How will the security staff be supervised? Will supervision be conducted by the owner, contracting agency, or both? What are your expectations?
- Consider a service transition if an existing agency is not meeting your needs. If your current contractor is not effectively meeting your needs, consider establishing a transition plan to replace your existing provider. Transition plans arrange from 30, 45, 60, to 90 days and should outline key milestones, objectives, and goals. Ask the important questions? What staff do you want to keep? How will this be accomplished? How will communication to existing staff be handled? Remember, keep the process simple and concise.
Sean A. Ahrens (email@example.com), CPP, FSyl, CSC, is a premises liability expert and a board of directors' member with the International Association of Professional Security Consultants (IAPSC). Ahrens provides security consulting, assessment, and security design solutions that reduce security exposures for domestic and international clientele as a market group leader forAffiliated Engineers, Inc. (AEI).
Steve Siegel (firstname.lastname@example.org), is a member of and has served on the boards of many security industry associations, including ASIS, IAHSS, ADSAI, CAI, BOMA, IREM, ISPA, MSC and more. He is also a sought-after security industry subject matter expert.)