Q. I have been in charge of security for only a few years after leaving government and have no idea how to proceed in developing and presenting a plan to management. What are some of the specific areas that I should highlight to emphasize the importance of security’s role?
A. Great question. As the person asking the question you understand the critical issue. The critical issue is, of course, creating a context or framework in which your business leaders can understand how security adds value.
Here are a few ideas to think about as you put your plan together.
How does security help the business leaders achieve the company's goals? For example: An "employees at risk program" helps protect all employees in a number of different ways. Working with the company travel department and human resources (HR) a review of all hotel properties where employees may reside while traveling should be done. This would include analyzing crime statistics, speaking with the hotel chain about security at that specific hotel, interviews with employees after trips, maintaining a travel monitoring program, providing international travelers with country warning notices twice a year and conducting educational awareness training. In very difficult markets like Mexico a company may decide to use security car services to move employees around town and from/to the airport. They may also provide an emergency hotline number to all employees in the event of an emergency. From a metrics standpoint, HR should conduct an annual employee survey to gauge feedback on the program.
Another example: Working with legal counsel and HR, security may want to establish a background verification process for new employees. HR should track percentages of all applications that contain inaccurate information and the attrition rate of the new hires after verification. Using this data HR can track hiring costs, employment law costs, disruptive employee costs and even training costs with the goal that these should trend down as a result of hiring the right people. If a drug testing program is set up along with the applicant verification, rates of applicants who screen positive for illegal substances should be tracked as after time the company may see a drop in employees with substance abuse issues because they are avoiding applying to the company.
These two examples are easy and almost everyone has these programs, but there are numerous other examples that can and should be used to tell the value story. Remember this is a great opportunity to add a slide that says, "if resources were available we would be doing the following to reduce risks and costs in order to better achieve our company's goals.”
Answer provided by Richard Lefler, Security Executive Council Emeritus Faculty.
Hear more from Dick Lefler. In this podcast, Dick discusses the importance of recognizing each organization is different from every other and how this affects how the security leader should develop his or her risk mitigation program.