Turning around an under-performing residential security program

The challenge: Transform a residential security team from underachieving to best-in-class.

Our client, the family office of a highly prominent principal in a suburban neighborhood, required an effective residential security program. Risk scenarios ranged from groups of sidewalk gawkers to burglary and home invasion – and clearly identified persons of interest.

The client’s former security provider had been lacking in many ways. Despite repeated warnings, the company continued to miss agreed performance targets and the family wasn’t happy.

Allied Universal® Executive Protection & Intelligence Services was invited to bid on the contract. The only special requests in the RFP were that the new program be as trouble-free for the frustrated family as possible and that “the changing of the guard” present a minimum of disruption.


The solution: Program reboot with built-in quality assurance, team development and hands-on management.

We started with an analysis of the risks facing the principals, then tried to understand the family’s preferences concerning residential security. We also interviewed other stakeholders within the residential ecosystem including household staff and managers.

We gained consensus on pain points, expectations and the contours of success to ensure complete transparency in how we would address the issues and arrive at sustainable solutions. There was dissatisfaction with parts but not all of the former setup. Some of the staff were in fact competent and well-liked. The root cause of the dissatisfaction was poor program design and management, not the people doing their shifts.

Our program overhaul introduced standard operating procedures and ongoing quality control including everyday interventions by experienced managers and occasional audits to assess team readiness. We developed KPIs with the family office, then tracked them so we could share performance metrics with the client and agree on corrective action.

Another key part of our program was staff development. We kept on as many of the existing security staff as possible to align with the principal’s wishes and minimize disruption during the transition. Our transition plan made clear that staff accountability and ongoing focus on and investment in training and career planning were cornerstones of our HR policy.


The results: Smooth transition to new team management, focus on continual improvement – and a satisfied family.

The principal and the family office wanted to do things right rather than do them fast. Still, we know from experience that dragging out such significant changes does no one any good, so we set a target of one month for program redesign and transition – and achieved it.

The new residential security program is currently running smoothly. The best of the former staff – the familiar faces and hands of the program – were retained so the family experienced little uncertainty over new staff and could get on with their lives without thinking more than necessary about residential security.

The program is designed and managed to prevent complacency and future problems. Ongoing quality assurance, staff development and transparent performance reviews mean the family office has a higher degree of certainty in program viability than previously.

Finally, we were also pleased to have another group of agents that we can use to identify and develop talent. Residential protection positions are important to our own HR efforts, and our managers stay closely involved with them. Many of our best people began their careers in residential protection before moving into management or close protection. So, while such jobs may be end stations in some companies and moonlighting for some agents, for us they are excellent ways to nurture talent and build careers.

Read more about the Allied Universal® Executive Protection & Intelligence Services approach to residential protection on our services page.