Securitas claims that security professionals are the ‘unsung heroes’ of the pandemic; key workers helping to keep people and property safe and secure, working on-site to provide security for offices, warehouses, transport hubs, hospitals and other critical national infrastructure.
At the outset of the pandemic, Securitas made the decision to ask employees with back-office roles to work remotely. However, their security officers and engineers on the front line faced uncertainty and were isolated from colleagues and clients while looking after empty premises. Securitas’ HR teams had to deal with the associated health risks, from protecting the physical safety of officers and engineers to looking after the mental wellbeing of all colleagues, which involved a wide range of activities, processes and procedures.
Additionally, Securitas faced a number of staffing issues that other firms faced, including recruiting top talent in a straitened labour market and making a success of remote onboarding.
In this case study, Sarah Hayes, HRD at Securitas UK, outlines how the firm overcame its talent challenges and oversaw a number of positive changes to its HR teams.
Defining the challenge
During 2020, recruitment did not present a problem to Securitas UK, given the availability of applicants who had been made redundant as a result of pandemic restrictions. In addition, we were able to offer opportunities to people who had been furloughed by their employers. This meant we were able to fully meet all our clients’ requirements at a time when there was a great deal of uncertainty and fear.
Approximately 1,500 Securitas UK employees were furloughed, either because they were classed as vulnerable or because they worked on client sites that were forced to close, in sectors such as retail and aviation.
Of course, now the picture across Europe has completely changed and recruitment has become really tough. In the UK, there’s a perfect storm brewing as a result of Brexit limiting the pool of candidates whilst a buoyant jobs market develops as the country opens up.
In Securitas, we haven’t seen the number of applications we would normally expect; there are more cases of applicants not attending interviews, and we are finding that successful candidates are not accepting job offers.
Refining the onboarding process
With these challenges, we’ve had to be more creative with our onboarding. From the start of the pandemic, we switched to Microsoft Teams interviews, created an online induction programme and moved to virtual learning.
Now, rather than relying on traditional job boards and aggregators, we’ve been working hard to connect with sources of potential new recruits; for example, government-funded training agencies, organisations dealing with transitions for ex-military personnel, job centres and charities which help vulnerable people back into the workplace.
Given the sudden competition, we knew we needed to be much quicker in converting interested candidates into new recruits, accelerating the interview process before people were picked up elsewhere.
In the past, our local branch managers have dealt with recruitment in their own local teams. However, we have fast-tracked the process, with dedicated recruiters who sift applications and set up immediate online interviews on behalf of the branches.
Merging our recruitment and onboarding team has streamlined the process and enabled a greater focus on supporting the branches. This has included our new online, personalised induction process with weekly virtual sessions for up to ten new recruits at a time.
Engaging the workforce
Each team of new recruits join an informal, interactive mini-community where they get set up on all our systems, talk through process and procedures and discuss all the important things they need to know in their new role.
They watch a welcome from our country president and find out how they can develop their career with Securitas, a global organisation present in 48 countries. Of course, we also tell them all about Securitas perks, our employee benefits.
These mini-communities create brilliant networks for our new starters. It’s somewhere they can go to ask for advice and help and meet colleagues in the same position as them. Early engagement has had to be the focus on recruitment, and we have worked hard to find ways to differentiate us from the competition.
A recent research report from engagement and culture specialists Achievers, has suggested engagement is in decline, with only 28% of employees describing themselves as more engaged and 37% saying they were less engaged.