Top Challenges for Guard Firms: How 2020 Has Shaped Security

security guard wearing a mask

The events of 2020 have forever shaped the landscape of society. The entire world has been impacted by a pandemic – socially, economically, physically – and is now facing a “new normal” in daily life. Focusing specifically on the physical security industry, this new normal has created a unique impact and has changed processes, people, and technology – effectively changing the way security services are offered permanently.

We have conducted a survey to security professionals and compiled a comprehensive report that analyzes quantitative data from the physical security industry to determine specifically how the events of 2020 changed the landscape of the industry.

It also covers the top challenges facing the industry this year, as well as how technology is playing a larger role in helping create safer, more effective security operations.

The report addresses common operational challenges for physical security and seeks to understand the challenges that are a result of the current climate of operations in 2020.

Challenge #1 – Hiring and Turnover

Despite challenges felt across the board, the most significant were hiring and turnover. As we know, hiring and turnover has been a major challenge for guard firms even before the pandemic. Not only is it hard to find good talent and retain those employees, there are competitive wage rates in other industries that are less strenuous on the individual.

Now, with the record unemployment and economic downturn, this challenge is compounded exponentially. We will drill-down more on how companies are addressing this challenge later in the report.

Challenge #2 — New Health & Safety Protocol Enforcement

With so many changes to processes and guidelines for safe operation within a business, companies are struggling to not only keep up with the guidelines, but also effectively implement procedures and training for their team on enforcing them.

Beyond the actual processes themselves is the ability to operate effectively while maintaining a paperless and contactless operation. Many are looking to technology to aid in this.

“It Has Not Been Easy To Get Proper Training For New Guards Due To Social Distancing And Mobilizing Crowds.”

Challenge #3—Compliance Risk and Liability

With the pandemic creating a certain degree of FUD – Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt—employees working in the field are concerned about safety and health, and certainly there are some concerns about wage and labor issues, sick leave, hazard pay and more.

Guard firms are especially concerned with worker safety and want to make sure they are compliant with these regulations, but these are exceptional times. Having proper documentation, traceability and protocol to ensure compliance is a key component of the “new normal”.

Another compliance challenge focuses on the government assistance reports, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the CARES Act. Ensuring proper compliance is another key theme in 2020.

“We Have Been Challenged To Keep Track Of Changing Rules & Laws In Regards To FFRCA And CARES, And Enforcing COVID 19 Guidelines And Regulations Within Our Staff.”

Challenge #4—Client/Vendor Dynamic

Client retention has always been a challenge, but as businesses continue to remain shut down or reduce operations, there is higher turnover in the physical security industry than ever before.

Even with clients that keep their security contracts, payments have often been delayed in order to support core business operations first. Clients are delaying payment to their security provider to pay their own employees or vendors who provide them with critical goods (e.g. toilet paper, sanitizer, etc.).

Guard firms are dealing with slow receivables and are relying on credit to keep up with business operations.

“The Biggest Opportunity Has Been To Reinvent Yourself And Use Technology As An Ally For Any Business.”

Challenge #5–Remaining Competitive Through Expanded Services

The last challenge affects larger guard firms over smaller ones. Within companies with over 100 guards, this was the second highest challenge after hiring and turnover. Many firms are seeing a reduction in on-site guards, replaced with more remote operations.

Many companies, especially those in corporate America, are seeing a shift to work from home, and there are a lot of empty corporate offices.

Guard firms are looking to supplement on-site resources with technology – video monitoring, mobile command centers, and other tools – that will help to continue proper vigilance while requiring less on-site resources.

email banner for webinar: How Security Has Changed in 2020: Benchmarking Trends in the New Normal

We conducted a survey of security firms across the U.S. to determine what the top challenges are in 2020, what are the biggest changes that are impacting businesses, and how firms are adapting to ensure safety and security for employees and clients.

Join the Trackforce Valiant team and Steve Vitale, EVP & Principal P4 Protective Services, in our upcoming webinar on August 25th (2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM PT), we’ll present our findings and tackle the issues. Register today to reserve your spot.

Register Here