Dedicated Rovers Keep Communities Safer

Stranger. When you hear that word, what immediately comes to mind? For many, it is the advice, “Don’t talk to strangers.” It’s something that has been ingrained in most people from childhood. Lack of familiarity with a person can create an environment of uneasiness, tension and diminished trust.

Within a building or community, it is especially important for managers and staff to know the people that are working at their facility. This presents a real challenge to many security companies because assigned guards may call in sick or have to miss a day at work for one reason or another. The other issue is turnover.

Major Challenges for Security

Absences and high guard turnover can harm the security program. It can also have a negative impact on tenants. As I discussed in my last article, there are many things we do at GSI to address guard turnover. We are able to maintain higher retention through our HR efforts, our culture and through our training and support. What about absences?

Security companies use “rovers” to fill temporary openings. A rover is an officer who is not assigned to a specific post. Their job is to fill openings at multiple posts whenever and wherever they are needed. It’s standard practice and a good arrangement to ensure the obligations of each post are fulfilled. However, there are two major challenges.

First, rovers can be sent to any post. This means that they are not familiar with site specifics. The second is that there are many rovers and a rover is often assigned to a post where no one has ever met him before. This makes the rover a stranger to the community.

Dedicated Rovers Provide a Solution

The dictionary defines a stranger as, a person whom one does not know or with whom one is not familiar, so by definition, a rover is a stranger when he arrives at a new post. To address this issue, GSI only assigns 2-3 rovers to each client’s site, so clients get an officer to fill-in who is familiar to them and has been trained on site specifics.

We refer to these rovers as “Dedicated Rovers”. A dedicated rover is a security officer who is assigned to work for specific clients. Dedicated rovers are cross-trained at the client’s facility. We also provide each client with the opportunity to meet their select group of dedicated rovers during training so they will be recognizable to the customer and appropriate staff members.

Putting the Community at Ease

GSI enforces a higher standard for dedicated rovers. Dedicated rovers receive higher pay (additional cost is not passed on to the client), but it is worth it to have the most professional, polished individuals fill in for regularly assigned guards. Dedicated rovers are well received by tenants and become familiar to them over time.

Tenants feel more comfortable and safer when they know the people around them, especially those charged to ensure security. Dedicated rovers protect the integrity of the security program and are able to perform their jobs better because they are familiar with site specifics and have been trained on the duties that relate to each specific post. That’s important because our primary responsibility is to our clients and the communities we serve.

Why Is Teamwork Required To Keep Tenants Safe?

Many people don’t realize the amount of work that goes into providing a safe, pleasant environment for tenants and guests. When you think about all that is involved to create a positive experience day-in and day-out, it is easy to see why teamwork is required.

A common scenario that can be taken for granted

A visitor drives up to a beautiful high-rise building. She is greeted by a parking attendant and safely parks her car in the parking lot. As she leaves, she doesn’t even notice the cameras or think about the people behind the monitors who are looking out for her safety and watching over her vehicle.

She walks out of the parking area into a manicured courtyard and toward the entrance. As she approaches, clean, shiny glass doors automatically slide open. Then she enters the building and walks across polished marble floors to the front desk. At the desk she is greeted by a friendly security concierge who kindly determines the reason for her visit. Next, the security concierge makes a call to inform the tenant that he has a visitor. After obtaining permission, the security concierge smiles and provides the visitor with any needed direction.

Next the visitor enters an elevator with a stranger. The door shuts locking her into a small confined space with a man she has never met before. Still, she feels safe. She is not worried about the person who is in the elevator with her because she knows the building is safe. This allows her to concentrate on her upcoming meeting with the tenant.

When she arrives at her meeting, the tenant is able to welcome the guest who is in a positive mind frame and happy to be there. After a productive meeting, she is able to exit the building and return to her car without incident and drives off the property without worry.

This is a common scenario that occurs thousands of times within a large upscale community. For those who live in these communities or work in these buildings, this scenario plays out so frequently that it is easy to take for granted.

What happens behind the scenes

Property managers do an outstanding job ensuring all the needed moving parts work together cohesively and for the good of the community. Vendors also play a vital role in the overall experience.

The security team and security plan for the community are especially crucial. Security personnel has daily interactions with tenants and guests. It is our responsibility to watch out for them. However, there are behaviors that can place the safety of a community in jeopardy.

Dangers can occur when the board, property management, and the security company do not function properly as a team. A cooperative and coordinated effort on the part of all three parties is required to ensure the wellbeing of the community.

Teamwork is vital to success

This may be surprising to some because they tend to view security as a stand alone function that is plugged into the overall operations of a building. Do you know why this thinking is flawed? Think back to our opening scenario and consider these 2 reasons.

  1. The security program is an integrated part of the visitor’s experience. Security is involved from the moment they approach the parking area, and security remains involved until a person leaves the property.
  2. Security personnel are fundamental to the effectiveness of the security program, so the success of a security program is dependent on the retention and development of security officers.

Protecting the integrity of the security team protects the community

When the integrity of the security officers and the security company are compromised then it is ultimately the community that suffers.

Security officers perform a very valuable service and should be respected and appreciated. Arrogance and a demeaning attitude toward the officers we count on is truly self-destructive, and can put a security program in jeopardy. When guards don’t feel good about the job they are doing it creates the following issues:

  • Officers often request transfers and are harder to retain.
  • High guard turnover hinders officer training and development.
  • Low morale among officers can result in poor service and compromise their effectiveness.

However, when management, the board of directors and the security company all work together as a team, policies can be implemented and issues can be addressed to protect the community.

In the end everyone will benefit. Officers will be happier, stay longer and will perform better. A positive environment will enhance the overall community. Management will have fewer problems and the entire community will be safer.