As terror attacks and other high-profile crimes continue to occur at hotels around the world, many operators are scrutinizing their security efforts.
Guest security is always the top priority, of course, and a well-trained hotel staff plays a vital role in providing it. But as some hotel operators are discovering, improving security for guests through targeted staff training also means happier, more motivated employees.
The challenge: Diversity in the workplace requires a diverse security program
A prominent hotel chain was experiencing elevated threat levels and wanted to improve security at their 12 locations worldwide. Management wanted to go beyond ensuring that the proper security and emergency procedures were documented. They also wanted each and every employee to feel comfortable at work, and to be prepared if an incident occurred.
Each hotel has several hundred employees, all with different levels of education, skill sets, access permissions within the hotel, and even different native languages. The hotel chain’s executives realized that everyone, from housekeeping to restaurant and front desk staff, supervisors and managers, could play a critical role during an incident.
The solution: Start with a solid RTVA, then give everyone role-specific training
Allied Universal® Executive Protection & Intelligence Services proposed the first step to be a comprehensive RTVA for all hotels worldwide. Our risk consultant visited each site several times to interview the security teams and the property managers and review their standard and emergency procedures. He then tested those procedures using simulations to determine whether they were practical and actionable for every area in the hotel. If the simulations revealed gaps, the consultant worked with the security teams and property managers to revise the procedures accordingly.
The second step was to create a wide-ranging training program that was designed for the different groups of hotel staff. The training covered how to react in emergencies, for example a fire and an active shooter incident, and how those procedures differ. It also trained security awareness and how to assess suspicious behavior that could be a precursor to hostile attacks. Employees learned these critical skills through customized, real-life scenarios that were relevant to their respective roles.
Additional training was provided for managers. This focused on their role in emergency management, including delegation of responsibility and establishing clear chains of command.
The results: Increased employee satisfaction, better internal communication, and more robust security plans
The RTVAs and subsequent processes resulted in better security plans and stronger communication between staff at all hotels. Now, security teams are much better at sharing best practices, discussing lessons learned, and addressing vulnerabilities and procedural gaps.
Allied Universal® Executive Protection & Intelligence Services received tremendous feedback from corporate HQ and staff at all properties. Employees felt more empowered and prepared. They were pleased that the corporate headquarters cared enough to do this for them.
The hotel chain has discussed expanding this to other properties, setting up regular refresher training sessions, and creating security training videos for seasonal temporary employees.