The Unforeseen Impact of Security Team Reductions is the Loss of Knowledge
This has been a terrible time for everyone especially in the hotel industry as hotels and hotel companies seek substantive cost-cutting at all levels. Hospitality security is one of the most challenging areas in the security business: it has little regulation to fall back on, is rarely seen as a priority, is perceived to be low down in the food chain and has to provide a service that is both welcoming, open and secure. Protecting people, property and reputation in a sector that faces a myriad of internal and external threats in an open and welcoming environment takes a unique blend of knowledge, skills, and a deft touch.
The mass laying off of corporate and hotel security staff undermines the security and safety of guests and employees, it has also triggered substantial knowledge loss which will be difficult to regain.
The hotel security manager needs a soft touch at the same time as delivering effective and appropriate security.
The hotel security manager needs a range of skills and understanding unlike other sectors; these are built up over time and through being immersed in hotel operations gaining an understanding of:
- Hotel Management & Team Organisations
- Hotel Operations Ways of Working
- Hotel Culture
- Hotel Design and Layout
- Guest Handling (Security as a Guest Service)
- Hotel Operating Standards
- Hotel Specific Threat Environment
- Liaison with local authorities and cor[orate client security departments
Whilst the principles of security remain constant regardless of sector, its implementation, stakeholder engagement, leadership and management are unique. Good hotel security managers build a ‘sixth sense’ about their hotels giving them a great deal of invaluable intuition.
Without stewardship security and resilience programs will lapse and become ineffective
Corporate and hotel intelligence, security and resilience programs will over time start to lapse without the active stewardship of security leadership. This will render organisations increasingly blind to the threat environment and their ability to manage the consequent risks.
One profoundly serious security-related incident, such as a terrorist attack, will focus the spotlight on hotel security cuts
There will come a time when hotel companies will realise, or be forced by circumstance, to re-establish corporate and hotel security for despite COVID, security threats remain as before or are increasing because of the disruption caused by COVID. There will be serious security incidents that will hit the press, hotels and hotel companies will be hoping that they will not be the ‘First Casualty’ taking the brunt of the ramifications. The unfortunate ‘First Casualty’ will likely trigger a scramble to re-establish security teams and roles.
Re-establishing effective hotel security will not be as easy as it might appear, those with the experience and knowledge required of the unique circumstance of hotels may not be available for re-employment. It may also be that those who have been let go, will not be willing to return. Given this many hotels may seek to re-establish their security teams by employing inexperienced individuals or security generalists to reduce costs. Whilst this might look good on an organisational chart, how will hotels and hotel companies recover the hotel security knowledge that has been lost to develop the inexperienced and train the generalist. This is a major challenge, and it could take many years for levels of security capability to recover to pre-COVID times.
Hotels will need to consider how to ‘reinstall’ lost knowledge as they plan to rebuild security.
Questions for Consideration:
- Do you know the extent of knowledge loss and the impact of this loss on your security capability?
- How are you going to regain this knowledge?
- Are you planning to train other members of staff on security duties? How will you do this with current reduced staffing?
- Do you have plans to train or retrain security when re-establishing a security team?