Hawk Security soars to top in employee survey

Company ranks as one of the best 100 places to work in Greater Dallas for third year in a row
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

FORT WORTH, Texas—Hawk Security Services' staff is a major reason the company has been able to nearly quadruple the number of customers it serves from 12,000 to about 45,000 since being acquired by Interface Security Systems in 2005, according to Mike Shirley, company regional VP.

“Mainly I think it’s hiring good quality people and trying to go out and grow the sales engine,” Shirley told Security Systems News about the success of the company, which is based here and also has offices in San Antonio and Longview, Texas.

And Hawk Security's employees appreciate their employer as much as it does them, according to a recent newspaper survey. Based on employee input, The Dallas Morning News ranked Hawk Security in 2011 as one of the top 100 places to work in Dallas and surrounding areas—for the third year in a row. It was one of only 34 companies to receive the honor for a third time, and Shirley said it was the only security company to do so.

According to the newspaper, more than 1,000 companies were nominated and more than 48,000 employees filled out confidential surveys evaluating their companies.

“I’m honored,” said Shirley, who was regional general manager of Hawk Security before the acquisition. He said the company continues to do business under that name even though it’s now owned by St. Louis-based Interface, which was in the news earlier this year for a huge deal it brokered to bundle services for Dollar General retail stores.

He said the newspaper said Hawk Security employees ranked the 125-employee company high in communication with staff.

“That’s something I firmly believe in,” Shirley said. He said he doesn’t want employees to just “punch the clock and do their job. I want them to feel like they can all make a difference.”

Among motivational techniques that Hawk Security, whose business is about 60 percent residential and 40 percent commercial, uses for sales staff is actually setting up a mini-football field in the office at the start of football season, complete with goal posts.

“If they hit their goal they can kick a goal and win a prize,” Shirley said. “We’ve also done pingpong tournaments and we’ve done a bowling tournament during sales meetings. … We work very hard and keep the customer first, but try to keep an upbeat, fun environment for the employees.”

The Dallas Morning News cited Hawk Security as an example of how the winning companies focus on goals.

“Top 100 companies are adept at defining the task at hand and at getting employee buy-in,” the paper wrote. “When Hawk Security Services sets a goal, all employees have to write down what they’re going to do to make it happen."

Shirley said he also likes to recognize employees for their good work. “What I try to do is catch them doing something good and reward them for it, if nothing more than tell them: ‘Hey, thank you! You really came through for our customer there.’”

And he said of his staff: “I honestly believe that if they feel good about coming to work and they feel good about themselves, it’s going to reflect in our daily business. We’re going to do a better job for our customers.”