Security Guard Evaluations
By: Kim Brown
Date Published: June 22, 2021
Security guards are usually the first people visitors see when they walk into a school, business, or condo building. They may be the first ones to respond to an emergency, and the only ones keeping watch of a property when everyone else has retired for the night.
Guards do more than most of us realize. And since they play such a vital role in maintaining safety and security, it’s important that they receive the training and guidance they need in order to perform their duties to the best of their abilities.
Supervisors are encouraged to evaluate their security team’s performance to ensure they are meeting your standards, as well as your clients’ standards. While your guards work very hard to meet goals and expectations, even the best employees can benefit from routine evaluations.
Evaluations are not a punishment, and they should not be used to shame or belittle your staff. Instead, use evaluations as an opportunity to praise guards for what they are doing well, and offer instructions or feedback on ways they can improve weaknesses. It’s crucial that evaluations are consistent (each guard should be subjected to the same evaluation process). There must also be a way to track progress/growth. There’s no point in conducting evaluations if the feedback is forgotten in a week. It may be helpful to offer an incentive to guards who demonstrate improvement from one evaluation to the next.
Evaluations can help strengthen the services provided by your team, while also creating a safer environment for your clients. Below are some key categories supervisors should focus on when creating evaluations for security guards.
Looks matter, at least to some extent. A security guard should always be properly dressed and equipped for the job.
In some states and provinces, a guard’s uniform must include a badge with the word “security,” an identification tag with the guard’s name or license number, and a company patch. These items must be visible to the public. Furthermore, guards are more likely to deter criminals and instill a feeling of safety in residents or staff if they look like they take their job seriously. Sloppy or unkempt appearances do the opposite, and tell others that the guard is only showing up for a paycheck.
Supervisors will want to ensure that guards have successfully completed this core responsibility. Patrols allow security guards to inspect areas that may be especially vulnerable to crimes. Guards may also catch accidents waiting to happen while conducting patrols, and defuse the situations before they become serious.
Supervisors who are struggling to verify whether patrols are done properly may want to consider introducing a security guard checkpoint system like Patrol Points. The hardware is very affordable and incredibly easy to install. Guards only need a smartphone and the app to scan the checkpoints, and can log incidents or share notes or photos at any checkpoint. All of the information is saved and organized on the software system. Management can view patrol activity and verify all checkpoints were visited at the correct time without having to micromanage their team.
Considering security managers need concrete data from their team to make strategic and informed decisions, the accuracy of logs and reports is crucial. Each guard should be evaluated on their ability to complete security logs and incident reports, as well as any items they are responsible for recording. It’s not enough to jot down the top highlights from a shift; logs need to be detailed enough so that the next guard or manager can understand what happened over the last 8 or 10 hours, and follow up if necessary. Notes must be legible. If your team is having trouble recording good reports, a security software program may help to simplify and automate this process. Plus, no one has to worry about bad handwriting when logs are completed online.
Guards must be able to demonstrate that they have the knowledge and ability to complete security procedures. For this section, supervisors should check to see that post orders have been read and signed. They may test the guard on how to properly perform one of the tasks on the post orders list.
Additional evaluation categories
Depending on the client and the role of the guards, you may also want to evaluate your team using these additional categories:
- Proper equipment/software usage – this is a good way to ensure guards understand how to use their tools properly
- Behavioral skills of the security guard – a positive attitude is an indispensable quality since guards are required to engage with people. The ability to be accountable and take responsibility is also important
- Valid weapon license if the guard is armed – forgetting this license could be a huge liability issue for your company
- Punctuality – guards hate when their colleagues are late. After a long shift, they’re tired and just want to get home. Plus, lateness often causes guards to rush start-of-shift processes. If guards are always late, it also reflects poorly on your company
Benefits of conducting regular evaluations
Evaluations are one way to keep your team accountable and performing at their best. Instead of trying to guess what could be improved and what’s working well, evaluations give you empirical data that you can use to make improvements/adjustments. Security companies benefit from evaluations in the following ways:
- Management can see a trend of service standards, and identify areas where they may need to offer additional training or instructions to guards
- They can correct inefficient processes and focus on helping their guards work more productively without having to work harder
- They can improve quality standards
- Guards understand what their employer is looking for, and can seek direction on how to make necessary changes
- Evaluations can serve as an opportunity to have some one-on-one time with your employees
As mentioned earlier, guards who show improvement between evaluations, or consistently rank high during evaluations, could be rewarded in some manner as a way to motivate them to keep up the good work. Your best employees will not stick around if they feel undervalued or unappreciated.
Finally, once the evaluation is done, take a few moments to ask your guards if they have any feedback or ideas that they would like to share. Validate their needs and concerns by taking the time to listen to them.
Performance data will help supervisors and management develop a truer understanding of their guards’ ability to carry out their job-specific requirements and duties. Little things, like wearing a clean uniform and taking the time to read and sign post orders, make a big difference. Not only does it show that your guards can follow routines, but it also demonstrates that they take their jobs seriously. Clients and the general public will notice this too, and will appreciate their commitment to professionalism.
With help from an online guard management system, management can accurately review what’s happening during each guard’s shift. This software promotes transparency and accountability while making life a bit easier for your security team.