Last evening, as I was giving a tutorial to a class of gentlemen who are poised to become private security firm supervisors, the subject of staff discipline came up. The trainee who raised this question was specifically interested in knowing how discipline in a private security company can be maintained: that is, what measures can be put in place to ensure that the guards are well disciplined, on a day to day basis. This, to my mind, is an important question: seeing that security enforcement work can only be successfully done in a cohesive environment, and it takes a high level of discipline among the individuals (guards) in the company to achieve such cohesiveness.
In answering the question on how to maintain discipline in a private security company, I pointed out that one measure that can be put in place is that of organizing regular parades for the guards. If you have the benefit of military training, you will recall that one role served by military parades is that of encouraging discipline. There is no reason as to why this can’t be applied in the private security industry as well.
Further, I pointed out that to maintain discipline in a private security company, the guards need to be properly trained on the expected levels of discipline. The key points in the training program have to keep on being reiterated on a day to day basis, even after the students are through with the initial induction training.
With the students having been thoroughly trained on the expected discipline standards, a scheme should be put in place where those who deviate are sanctioned. Such would serve as an ‘example’ to the rest, as a deterrent if you like. On the other hand, those who excel in observance of the discipline standards should be rewarded. If the security company operates a site like the one that Macy’s (the retailer) operates in the name of Macy’s Insite then the guards who excel in discipline should be recognized on such a site. And that would be on top of being given financial bonuses as a form of positive reinforcement.