The largest American-owned security officer services company, privately-held AlliedBarton has 55,000 employees and serves more than 3,300 customers across the United States. The company serves the following segments: chemical and petrochemical, colleges and universities, commercial real estate, defense and aerospace, financial institutions, government services, healthcare, manufacturing and industrial, residential communities, shopping centers, transportation, utilities.
Chances are, most people in the United States have seen an AlliedBarton security officer, whether at an office building, shopping mall, industrial plant, college campus, bank or hospital. The company’s 55,000+ officers are highly trained to protect tens of thousands of customers every day.
AlliedBarton’s security officer training needs are complex. The company’s large workforce is dispersed across the country in a wide variety of industries with unique security challenges. Security posts range from the Hearst Tower in New York City with 2,000 occupants to The Franklin Institute museum hosting a $675 million King Tut exhibit. From entry level officers to highly-specialized military veterans, new hires have wide-ranging levels of experience.
In addition, officers must comply with local, state and federal as well as industry-specific regulations. Training also varies by role and even by customer. For instance, armed officers require different training than unarmed officers; the training required by a nuclear facility is very different than that needed by property managers.
For example, an AlliedBarton security officer at a petro-chemical plant in Texas must have the specialized training required not only to maintain security but to keep the plant in compliance with the strict security regulations specific to the industry. Security officers working for a public transportation authority in California need comprehensive training to ensure they are prepared for any situation at the station or on board buses and trains.
For many years, AlliedBarton’s learning consisted of instructor-led, classroom-style courses and on-the-job training delivered through the company’s district offices. An internally developed system tracked some training, but it didn’t provide the functionality or data that was really needed. As training needs escalated and became increasingly complex, company executives recognized that a more sophisticated and efficient approach to training was needed.
In early 2009, AlliedBarton implemented Intellum’s web-based LMS, now called Exceed. Exceed is the foundation for AlliedBarton’s blended training approach, called The EDGE.
The EDGE provides the tools for an optimal employee experience:
The EDGE incorporates a variety of training methods—including e-learning modules, traditional classroom presentations, formalized on-the-job training and podcasts—to provide the most effective learning environment possible. The 24/7 access is very important to the company’s employees, many of which work untraditional hours and in isolated situations.
The EDGE resources include:
Security Officers’ EDGE: AlliedBarton security officers begin their employment with a course of study that ensures that they are ready and able to perform their duties effectively. The Security Officers’ EDGE is also the starting point for the officer’s development and growth within the company. Representive topics covered include: fire safety, driver training, terrorism awareness, CPR and first aid, and firearms training.
Managers’ EDGE: AlliedBarton managers can continue their education through a variety of courses to help them improve their effectiveness in managing security operations.
Security Academy in Leadership, to enhance employee development and performance and help managers excel through partnerships with senior-level management.
Supervisor’s Workshop, a one-day instructor-led course that covers effective supervision skills. All new site and shift supervisors are required to attend this course within 60 days of appointment to the position.
Operations University, which helps new managers better understand AlliedBarton’s business processes so that they can deliver high quality service to customers.
Leaders’ EDGE: Developed in conjunction with Harvard Business Publishing, the Leaders’ EDGE offers AlliedBarton managers and executives more than 40 courses of study in areas such as budgeting, coaching, decision making, finance essentials, marketing essentials, negotiating, strategy execution, team leadership, and time management.
Also available through The EDGE are customized security programs developed by AlliedBarton to meet specific client needs in in a variety of areas including emergency plans, evacuation procedures, customer service, and operations procedures.
A client in AlliedBarton’s manufacturing and industrial vertical market segment has 110 facilities in 17 states. AlliedBarton is entrusted with keeping over 100,000 employees in these locations safe and secure. Over 800 AlliedBarton security officers are assigned to this customer. Officers are required to successfully complete all AlliedBarton pre-employment, regulated state required training, as well as, 25 client-specific certifications including, but not limited to: Legal Limitations of Security Officers, Trade Secrets & Proprietary Information and OSHA’s Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) training.
Compliance codes are created for all such required training in AlliedBarton’s WinTeam database, where all employee compliance data is stored. These codes are passed on to the The Edge LMS in nightly updates. As employee training and certifications are completed, the employee’s training record is automatically updated to reflect the completion. The completion information is also passed on to WinTeam via the nightly updates.
These compliance codes become schedule requirements and work in conjunction with the schedule for the entire customer site, or could be tied to specific posts at the site. If an employee is scheduled and has not completed the necessary training required to work, the individual responsible for that schedule will receive an alert in the company’s LMS. These alerts will escalate via e-mail to upper level management associated with the service location if an employee has not completed the training within a specified timeframe or as training and certifications need renewal. With the many unique requirements at this service location, the scheduling system also has the ability to query security officers based on required training completion levels, or where the officer resides in proximity to the location so scheduling can be completed accurately and timely.
The goals for AlliedBarton EDGE were to provide security officers and managers more convenience and accessibility to training, ease of use, and enhanced reporting and compliance functionality.
These goals were achieved (and exceeded): Prior to The EDGE, employees’ course completion rates averaged 10,000 per month. After the launch of The EDGE, course completions skyrocketed to an average of 108,000 per month.
Benefits from The Edge go far beyond course completions. For instance, online assessments have replaced manual assessments in many instances, resulting in a reduction in administrative tasks of approximately 10 hours per week for each of the company’s 125 district trainers. These trainers use the “found” time to facilitate programs, coach employees and support the training function. In an economy requiring the best use of employees’ time and skills, The EDGE has enabled the company’s training community to redirect 73,000+ hours from administrative tasks to work directly aligned with business goals.
AlliedBarton has a turnover rate of approximately 40%, compared to the industry average of 75%. Executives credit training and the company’s emphasis on internal promotion as factors that encourage employees to stay with the company. Customer retention is also very high – a 91% year-over-year average, which is linked to the service quality facilitated and fostered by training.
According to Brent O’Bryan, AlliedBarton’s vice president of learning and development, “The learning and development opportunities we offer through the AlliedBarton EDGE help ensure that the personnel securing and managing security operations are knowledgeable, motivated, and effective and that they live the Dare to be GREAT quality standards outlined in our blueprint for success.”