Security and guard services firms, like many other industries, have been greatly affected by the pandemic. While the security industry has their own set of unique challenges, they have been magnified due the effects of COVID-19.
We were able to conduct a survey with security professionals to identify their most frequent setbacks and some possible solutions to help them.
Hiring and Employee Turnover
Across the board, the most common challenge was hiring and employee turnover. While this was already a major set back for guard firms before the pandemic, they are having even more trouble keeping and employing workers. In fact, according to the Service Employees International Union, the country’s largest private security officers’ union, the national turnover rate for security guards is estimated to be between 100%-300%. This means that most guards leave a job within a year.
Guard and security firms are one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country. There are many requirements for setting up this type of business including training guards and getting the correct licensing. Those operating without the correct licenses could be subject to costly fines and even jail time in some extreme cases. Some states like California, have government departments dedicated for regulating this specific industry.
Keeping clients and your employees safe should be the top priority. Being a security professional is, by nature, a relatively dangerous business. In fact, Forbes states, there’s almost as many security guard deaths on the job as police officers and Bloomberg assesses that being a security guard is the 27th most deadly occupation.
Solutions to these Challenges
So now that we know the challenges, how did these security firms address the problems? Well, most of them actually didn’t have a solution, but the ones who did almost all overwhelmingly used a Professional Employer Organization or PEO. Business owners’ partner with PEOs in order to outsource employment-related HR functions such as payroll, employee benefits and workers comp. For a more detailed explanation of what a PEO entails, click here.
So how does a PEO help security firms solve their problems? There’s a multitude of ways. Firstly, lets tackle the problem of hiring and keeping employees. According to NAPEO, companies who use PEOs experience up to 30% lower employee turnover. This is because not only do PEOs provide assistance and expertise during the hiring process, but also because PEOs allow small businesses to administer cost effective employee benefits.
Employee benefits are a great way to attract and keep top talent. In fact, an overwhelming majority of employees said they would choose a job with benefits even if an identical job offered 30% more salary but not benefits, according to a survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
A PEO helps smaller companies administer the same benefits as Fortune 500 companies for a fraction of the cost. How do they do this? When a company partners with a PEO, they join their large group benefits plan along with other PEO clients. Because thousands of companies group together, they have more buying power, thus getting benefits packages at a cheaper rate. Think of it as a mutual fund for employee benefits.
Aside from employee turnover, PEOs also help with maintaining compliance. Compliance is one of the most prevalent challenges in the security and guard services industry. Statistics from NAPEO show that the average PEO client can save up to 52% on compliance related expenses. This is because PEOs are well versed in labor and tax laws. When you join a PEO, they become an extension of your HR team meaning you can leverage their specific expertise and knowledge. Specific to the security industry, a PEO should be able to help ensure that all licenses are up to date and comply with local labor laws. PEOs act as guide to help you navigate the regulatory landscape.
Lastly, regarding employee safety, PEOs offer a multitude of risk management services. When first joining a PEO, they will likely do a safety audit to make sure your workplace is safe. The best way to keep employees safe is to limit the amount of potential work hazards. On top of that, PEOs also help companies get affordable workers’ compensation insurance in order to protect their employees. Similarly to benefits, the PEO purchases coverage with thousands of their clients to increase purchasing power, driving the cost down. If a work injury occurs PEOs are usually responsible for dealing with the claim and some may even cover it. Additionally, work injuries only effect the experience modifier of the PEO. This means that not only does a PEO have a professional incentive, but also a financial one in terms of keeping your workplace and employees safe.
Now it’s clear why thousands of security firms nationwide are turning to PEOs for a helping hand. Not only do PEOs help address some of the most difficult challenges in the industry, but they also help their clients save money. The best part about PEOs, is they are a one stop shop for HR services, meaning you only have to deal with one vendor for all your needs.
The Cornerstone Advantage
If you’re in the security industry a PEO may be a great solution to alleviate stress and timely HR processes. While all PEOs may have similar services, Cornerstone PEO has solutions geared specifically toward the security industry.
Not only does Cornerstone offer payroll, risk management, workers’ comp, HR, and employee benefits services, they also have a division and tools built specifically for the security industry. When you partner with Cornerstone you also get access to their robust software solution. Some functionalities include employee licenses and expiration tracking, updated state required trainings, real time scheduling, and uniform and vehicle tracking. Clients also get access to an assigned customer service rep to answer any questions or help with any problems that arise. Cornerstone PEO strives to offer industry specific solutions with excellent customer service.