The Training Buck Stops Here!

Security Sales & Integration‘s ‘Business Fitness’ columnist Paul Boucherle offers tips to help electronic security executives train staff members.

Extreme training is an investment in a company’s future competitive advantage in the markets in which you choose to build your brand. The U.S. Marines believe in it; and it has certainly built their brand, don’t you think? Perhaps now is a good time to take another look at how you invest in keeping your team “mission ready.”

As we do a fair bit of training and organizational development in the security industry, I thought I would share some frequently asked questions. The questions I hear most from clients include:

How much should I invest in training?

From a dollar perspective, you should consider 3%-4% of a person’s annual compensation. Your people deliver the results, based on their skill level, that fuel your profits. A company culture of continual improvement moves up expectations of peer performance and customer satisfaction. Selling the client business value and justification of higher pricing is easier when your highly trained team raises the bar for your competitors.

Who and what positions should we focus on?

Where is the greatest return on my investment? It’s a fair question. In the real world, none of us have unlimited checkbooks. The short answer is, everyone. The long answer is, everyone. Training develops skills at performing critical work process tasks and roles. Technicians must work effectively and efficiently to implement a wide range of technology to complete projects on time, on budget and without excuses. Your customers quickly analyze the competency of those frontline troops. Customer confidence equates to faster cash flow and referrals that build profitable business balance sheets.

This is where business owners often think the job is done; it is not. Not by a long shot. Your sales, operations, administration and frontline managers all deserve and need skill training to build a mission-ready team that can get the job done.

RELATED: Check Out New Opportunities on the SSI Job Board

What type or format of training should I invest in?

I have the honor of serving on two security industry educational boards that help guide innovative training content and delivery methodology. Both ISC and PSA pride themselves on innovation, strong content and measurable learning metrics. I recommend scenario-based skill development. The closer to the real-world challenges of a job, the better. With technology, this is somewhat straightforward, but with “soft” business skills not so much. The faster your team can apply new skills to everyday work, the better they will internalize skill sets.

How can I maximize my training investment across the entire organization?

I recommend a phased and blended approach to organizational development. Skill-based training is very different than developing critical problem solving. Problem solving and innovation require using communication, process improvement and adapting to changing customer and competition challenges. This is where scenario-based training kicks into gear and leverages both individual and team solutions. It also takes a longer runway to land this plane.

If I choose to invest in training to develop my company, what returns can I expect?

Let me count the ways. First, talent retention is a big one. Replacing talent is expensive, time consuming and impacts productivity in a big way. A well-trained team retains, attracts and helps recruit talent. Who isn’t attracted to play for a winning team? Continual skill development should not be viewed as “training the competition” but rather the culture of the company. This means reexamining your company culture and vision.

Let’s go back to what I mean by extreme training. Extreme training, as defined by the U.S. Marines, is elevating training beyond your M.O.S. (military occupational specialty). Marines have a fundamental role of being competent riflemen because when the stuff hits the fan. They must be counted on to protect and defend their fellow Marines. In the security industry, this translates to excellent customer service. Simply stated, cross training with authority to act in real-time to deliver beyond customer’s expectations . . . consistently well.

How do you develop an extreme training culture?

Here are five steps that work time and again:

  • Build individual awareness through assessments
  • Create a culture of communication at all levels
  • Develop a process to communicate, evaluate and eliminate problems
  • Invite customer feedback beyond simple surveys to get the real story
  • Have everyone walk a mile in their teammate’s shoes (OK, maybe 100 yards)

Build your training process to constantly improve on “scenario-based” collaboration. Finally, engage your product suppliers in the process beyond conventional “show and tell” training sessions. If you need some guidance, reach out to me. I have some checklists that just might help you build your team’s competitive advantage, and ultimately your brand.


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About the Author


Paul C. Boucherle, Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Certified Sherpa Coach (CSC), is Security Sales & Integration’s “Business Fitness” columnist. A principal of Matterhorn Consulting, he has more than 30 years of diverse security and safety industry experience including UL central station operations, risk-vulnerability assessments, strategic security program design and management of industry convergence challenges. Boucherle has successfully guided top-tier companies in achieving enhanced ROI resulting from improved sales and operational management techniques. He is a charismatic speaker and educator on a wide range of critical topics relating to the security industry of today and an accomplished corporate strategist and marketer whose vision and expertise in business performance have driven notable enterprise growth in the security industry sector.

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