Q. My company has no consistent executive protection and event security program. Any advice on how to build out a program that will allow us to better support the executives and our employees?
We see many companies struggling with this same issue. There really is no one size fits all solution. Every situation will differ from company to company. There are some basic steps every company should take when considering building this type of program.
- Start with understanding the company culture when it comes to employee safety. Are the executives supportive of the security challenges facing the company? What are the expectations of the executives regarding the need to build a program? How is security viewed within the company? Answers to these questions will assist in determining how you move forward.
- Risk assessments must be conducted. These assessments would consider the threats and vulnerabilities facing employees or events. They will also assist in determining who, when, where, and what type of security is warranted. The level of coverage could range from 24/7 protection of person and property to more of a facilitation model where the focus is on ease of movement.
- Finding the right people to establish and execute the program is critical. The experience of the selected personnel must be taken into consideration. Attention to detail and flexibility are required skills to be effective in this position. Consideration should be given to using internal and external resources for support.
- Research a travel security vendor. A company should have a way to track not only executives but all employee travel. Duty of Care responsibilities require a company to educate and support all employees on the risks associated with company travel. A company also has a Duty of Care responsibility when inviting employees and guests to a company sponsored event. You should be able to find a vendor that fits the needs of your company.
If you decide to move forward, some very important elements of any effective program would include, but not limited to:
- Establishing policy and procedures. Board approved policy is preferred. Having a Board approved policy reduces the opportunity for new executive leadership to make dramatic program changes.
- Advance work will be key to the success of any protection program. An effective program should include a plan to have personnel conduct site assessments in advance of any executive travel or company planned events.
- You must take technology into consideration (mobile phone notifications, assistance requests, cameras, tracking devices). The ability to communicate and pass timely information is critical in any emergency.
- Social media must be monitored for any threatening comments or adverse information directed toward employees. Procedures must be in place on how this type information will be handled.
- Regular training must be a part of any program and should be included in the procedures.
Answer by Phil Hopkins, Security Executive Council Emeritus Faculty.