Staving turnover with HRGroup

Safeguard Security says 'it took the guesswork out of hiring.'
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—Several years ago Safeguard Security—a super-regional based here, was experiencing very high turnover in its central station. Working with a company called HRGroup, Safeguard learned how to recruit and hire the right people, not only for its central, but also for all areas of its business, Mike Bradley, president of Safeguard Security told Security Systems News.
 
“The turnover in our central in those days was probably 40 percent and my guess is that now it’s down around 15 percent,” he said. “That’s huge for us. It’s expensive to hire new people, it takes 90 days to get them up to speed and it can take a full year [for those employees] to develop a level of independent competency,” Bradley said.
 
Safeguard has worked with HRGroup to develop hiring processes for executives, technicians and other employee categories. And now, PSA Security is sharing HRGroup’s expertise with integrators who opt in to the PSA Leadership Institute program.

“The central station is the front line and an important face of our business,” Bradley said. With the high turnover, morale was low and “things were not good,” he said.
 
Working with HRGroup, “we benchmarked five or six of our best central station agents and [HRGroup] used that to create what’s called a forecaster.” The forecaster shows a statistical profile of the ideal central station worker at Safeguard Security.
 
It’s a measurement of the different personality traits and work skills— in this case, friendliness, math and verbal skills, ability to work well in a group—and it gives a “plus or minus” range where the ideal candidate would fall in the different metrics. Determining where a candidate falls is easy, he said.
 
“Now, when we test for that position [or any other position,] we overlay the candidate’s score against the benchmark, push a button and we can see how they score,” Bradley said. Bradley said that candidates can’t beat the test—it’s designed in a way that it’s obvious if someone is trying to manipulate the test, he said.

“It’s taken the guesswork out of hiring,” Bradley explained.
 
What about hiring for positions such as qualified technicians that are typically difficult to find? Ted Szaniawski, HRGroup founding partner said he’s helped integrator clients deal with this problem.

“One strategy to overcome this is to hire individuals with the basic skills who have the aptitude to learn and bring them along. This of course entails making sure these individuals are retained after investing in their development,” he said.

And what about the time commitment for integrators who want to work with HRGroup? The process usually involves an initial 20-30 minute telephone conversation with the CEO through which HRGroup learns about the organization and their immediate hiring needs and it explains its approach and fee structure, he said.