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How GardaWorld puts the “pro” in its Protective Services

By: Marc-André Aubé, Ing., MBA, CFA
August 29, 2013

GardaWorld Protective Services division comprises 22,000 security professionals across Canada, guarding its airports, oilfields, major construction sites, hospitals, commercial office buildings and a lot of other sites as well. Although the value of the property they protect is in the trillions, the value of what they provide the people they protect—peace of mind—is immeasurable, especially when emergencies or threats arise. They know what to do.

Note: Marc-André Aubé is Chief Operating Officer of GardaWorld’s Protective Services and Aviation Services

That knowledge doesn’t just happen. It comes from hiring the right people after rigorous screening, training them so well that they can respond appropriately and effectively to the most challenging situations, and matching them with customer environments in which they’re most interested—helping to enrich their jobs by making them feel more a part of the customer.

All this helps our security team members stay with us longer. Their tenure is well above average in an industry noted for its turnover. That’s because we do much more than give them a uniform and badge—and it starts even before we hire them.

Talent Selection. When we qualify our applicants, we look for candidates who want to make a career with us. And they can: We pay up to 15 percent more than our competitors, depending on the market; we offer good benefits; and we provide career paths, so our people can move both laterally and hierarchically with pay raises and greater responsibilities along the way.

Our pre-screening process filters out those who are merely looking for a job “that pays the bills.” Experience has taught us that those types won’t be around long. Instead we carefully select people who are intelligent, with good judgment and people skills. Of course, we conduct background investigations, too, to weed out people with criminal records.

Training. Our security teams do more than keep a careful watch on our customer’s people and property from their assigned stations and in making rounds, if the latter is part of their duties. In fact, they are highly trained in a number of areas, with regular refresh sessions to ensure they’re always prepared to respond in the right way, no matter what the situation:

• How to respond to various levels of threats and challenges, using GardaWorld’s own advanced safety, security and emergency first-aid protocols

• How to prevent situations from escalating and de-fusing ones that have

• How to act within the framework of public laws and regulations

• How to operate most major fire and security systems, including video surveillance

• How to respond in accord with our customer’s own standards and protocols for:

o Environmental, health and safety

o Fire and security systems

o Engaging its often broad base of stakeholders—employees, customers, clients, suppliers, travelers and other constituents

o All other relevant systems and procedures

• How to mitigate risk in hazardous industrial environments like the oil fields, where they usually face the same onsite risks as our customers’ employees do, too

Scheduling.  After we hire and train our people, we purposefully seek the best matchup of their personality types and interests with our customers’ requirements and environments.

Some individuals, for example, prefer the oilfields for their rough, frontier surroundings, while others may prefer working among the close-knit community of a medical center’s personnel. Some might want to work in often different venues, like concerts and special events where they see and meet new people all the time, while others might enjoy working in one place day after day, where they get to know the people they work with and who come and go.

In trying to align our people with our customers’ environments like we do, we help them become established in their security roles much more quickly and become better engaged in the customers’ business and the social fabric of its people.

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Although security technologies like video surveillance and intrusion detection have been around for decades, the need has never been greater for that to be balanced by a good measure of human intelligence and consideration—like what the committed, trained professionals who make up GardaWorld Protective Services provide.

One of our biggest challenges in coming years will be continuing to find the high quality of people who are with us now. That’s why we’ll keep hiring the best, training and paying them well, and doing all we can to place them where they feel they can make a difference.

We’ll be sharing more about GardaWorld Protective Services and its industry in future posts. In the meantime, if you want more information, please visit our website.