Articles by Randy Dorn
In a highly competitive marketplace, where organisations need to ensure they are contracting for the best possible services, value must be visible. This starts with aligning with the right service provider – one that is dedicated to the organisation’s success and has the people and processes to make an impact. Certainly most, if not all, service organisations say that they strive to exceed client expectations and meet the highest standards in their industry – and security officer service providers are no exception. What sets apart the doers from the talkers, however, is utilising a well-researched and defined process for making good on these commitments. In this article, Randy Dorn - Division President at AlliedBarton Security Services explains why a value management process with clearly defined steps and procedures is critical. Communication shapes strategy A mutual understanding of security program needs is essential to setting priorities. This requires active listening on the part of both the organisation and the service provider. While the organisation needs to clearly communicate goals and outline which services and challenges are of the most importance, the service provider also needs to make recommendations, share best practices and bring strategies to life. These elements can then be incorporated into a plan with specific, measurable and agreed-upon goals to ensure accountability and ongoing satisfaction. After establishing priorities and developing a plan for delivering service excellence, the service provider needs to communicate regularly how they are reaching benchmarks and discuss any changes or additions they recommend to continue to reach goals and operate effectively. For any value management process to truly work, the plan must remain dynamic. The security industry is constantly evolving and security programs must also evolve to keep pace with changing demands. For example, an organisation’s operating hours or visitor policy may change and could require a change in security procedures. The security provider should never stop seeking information about the organisation’s goals and priorities. Value doesn’t just happen. It requires a continued, formal commitment and bold transparency “We view each meeting as an opportunity to learn something new, both personally and professionally, about each client,” says John Calise, Director of Value Management, AlliedBarton. “A mistake that can be made with longtime clients is thinking you already know everything about them and not seeking to learn something new.” By continuously listening, a security provider is well-equipped to make suggestions to add value and contain costs to ensure that expectations and goals are not just met, but exceeded daily. Doing so allows a provider to move beyond the basics and contribute to the overall success of the organisation. Employee engagement for service excellence Communication should not end with the organisation. The service provider’s employees are essential to the everyday delivery of services and ultimately, the delivery of value. How can a service provider expect to deliver value if its team is not engaged? Employee communication needs to range from the immediate to the long term. Immediate or daily needs such as those relating to uniforms and equipment are only the beginning. Longer term needs could include training topic suggestions and career development recommendations. Front line employees should not be overlooked as a source of strategic intelligence. These are the individuals who experience daily the effectiveness of everything from procedures to signage to technology. Their insight is valuable and seeing a suggestion become reality is very gratifying recognition. Employees who are supported are going to take better care of clients. A well-planned value management process should address both client and employee needs. Providers who understand this critical need will see a reduction in employee turnover and greater client satisfaction. Formal processes lead to consistency, transparency and accountability By continuously listening, a security provider is well-equipped to make suggestions to add value and contain costs to ensure that expectations and goals are not just met Value doesn’t just happen. It requires a continued, formal commitment and bold transparency. Service providers that shy away from difficult conversations will never have the ability to truly excel. Transparency means not only presenting results and solutions, but also shining a bright light on areas that need improvement – and then acting quickly to correct them. This level of transparency and commitment cannot occur only at an annual or even quarterly review. A value management process that mandates regular and frequent status and goal reviews will assign accountability and ensure all parties are engaged and on the same page. These processes help ensure consistency in service – both from site to site and throughout the length of the partnership. Goals, suggestions and requests that are immediately documented can be easily tracked and assigned to the appropriate manager. Actions can be quickly taken to address whatever these needs are and accountability and task completion can be monitored and reported. Management support guides success Finally, the delivery of value is not possible without an appropriate management structure. Dedicated leaders assigned to focus on specific areas can make a significant impact. A value management process cannot be effective if it is not properly implemented. Only with a well-defined and logically organised management team can a service provider fulfill their commitment to understanding and exceeding expectations and supporting employee engagement and growth. This management team needs training, drive and leadership to ensure that communication is ongoing and that transparency and accountability are present every day. A successful value management process requires constant attention to ensure every element is moving forward as planned, and is always in step with the organisation’s needs. At the end of the day, every organisation needs to see value to justify an investment. The value delivered must go beyond the service to sincerely address and accommodate needs and create opportunities to enhance the entire organisation. A service partner with an effective value management process can align with and contribute to an organisation’s larger strategic goals to become a true partner.