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One training program - to go.


MANY SECURITY MANAGERS of small and medium-sized security departments are faced with the difficult problem of how to train their new employees. In many cases, it is not possible or cost-effective to conduct a formal classroom training course for one or two new employees. However, frequently there are no other alternatives than an in-house program.

The majority of in-house training programs for small and medium-sized security departments, therefore, rely on on-the-job training programs to fill this need. All too often, these on-the-job training programs are haphazardly put together and consist of no more than a new employee working with a more experienced employee for several weeks.

With such programs, there is often an inordinately lengthy period before the new employee is considered to be adequately trained in his or her position. Also, this period is rife with frequent mistakes committed by this newly trained member of the security department. In such cases, security supervisors complain that these mistakes reflect a lack of common sense on the part of the new employee. However, there is an alternative to the haphazardly prepared on-the-job training programs found in many security departments.

ONE OF THE FIRST QUESTIONS THAT a security manager will ask before attempting to develop an in-house on-the-job training program is "How do I do it?" Exhibit 1 illustrates the major tasks required.

The first major task is to select the training committee. This committee will be used to gather relevant information about the required relevant job skills. The committee will also help the training program developer prepare the job description and list major tasks of the position and the steps necessary to complete each task. In most cases, it will also help prepare the on-the-job training program manual and help implement and deliver the program to the newly hired employees. The committee will be critical in evaluating the training program and the desired competency of the new employee.

The training committee should consist of three to five members, the majority of which should be outstanding performers in the job for which the training program is being developed. For example, a five-member committee that is developing an on-the-job training program for an office building security guard should have at least three members who are working guards. The remaining two members should be firstline supervisors who are familiar with the requirements of the position and frequently encountered performance problems.

In the selection process, special attention should be given to employees who, in addition to being outstanding performers, exhibit a positive attitude toward the company and the training program. If possible, some type of incentive should be provided to the employees selected to participate as members of the committee.

Once the training committee has been selected by the security manager responsible for developing the program, the next step is to gather as much relevant data on the job as possible. The first step in this process should be to contact the personnel office to obtain whatever material it may have concerning the position. The office usually will have prepared a formal position description and may even have details of the positions's duties that were used to classify the position's salary level.

The on-the-job training course developer should then obtain copies of all existing training materials, pertinent correspondence on the position, and existing written instructions or procedures. For example, materials for a guard's on-the-job training program should include existing standard operating procedures, any guard force general orders, and copies of all existing guard post orders.

After the program developer has gathered all pertinent information that is available on the job, he or she should provide copies to each member of the training committee. Members should review the material and note any inaccuracies or outdated materials. When they have finished their review of the existing materials, a series of training committee meetings should be chared by the program developer.

At the first meeting the program developer should brief the training committee on the process to be used in developing the on-the-job training program, discuss with each member any inaccuracies or outdated materials he or she found while reviewing, and begin the process of preparing with them the job description and major tasks.

The main objective is to discuss what the training committee members believe are the major tasks of the position, such as the security guard position. They should be encouraged to brainstorm with the program developer and record their ideas on large sheets of paper or a blackboard. Once they have reached a relative consensus on the major tasks for the position, they should analyze their list to eliminate duplication and extraneous items. When they have agreed on a major task list, they should record it for future reference. Exhibit 2 reflects a sample job description and major tasks for a uniformed security guard.

THE NEXT ITEM ON THE AGENDA should be an analysis and breaking down of each major task into the steps needed to accomplish it. These steps should be recorded in the order in which each should be accomplished. Exhibit 3 illustrates a sample major task for a uniformed security guard broken down into the required steps.

after determining the steps necessary to complete each task, the security manager should create a matrix of each major task, the steps necessary to complete the task, the information resources necessary for the completion of the task, and the person who will be responsible for providing the on-the-job training for the task. Exhibit 4 contains a sample job description and major tasks matrix that contains all this information.

Preparing the on-the-job training manual is next. The manual should consist of copies of the job description and major tasks matrices, copies of all items listed in the information resources section of the matrices, and a certification section that would ensure that the on-the-job trainer has adequately explained and demonstrated each major task and the steps required to accomplish it. The manual should be broken down into a separate section for each topic area and major task. A job description and major tasks matrix should be in the front of each section for easy reference to the information resources contained therein. Exhibit 5 contains a sample of an on-the-job training program certification form.

Once all these tasks have been completed, the security manager should once again brief training committee members (who, it is hoped, will participate as on-the-job trainers) on the program requirements. Once the trainers have been briefed on the program and have reviewed necessary training materials, the newly hired employees should be assigned to their trainers. Each newly hired employee should be given a copy of the on-the-job training manual for reference.

The final step is the evaluation of the training program itself and, most importantly, whether the newly trained employee can perform the required tasks in a satisfactory manner at the conclusion of the training. Developing an effective evaluation process for a training program is one of the main tasks of the training committee. They should undertake this task while they are preparing the job description and major tasks and while determining the steps necessary to complete the task.

The training committee should ask, "How do we know when a newly hired employee has successfully mastered a major tasks?" The responses to this question may at first appear simple but when closely examined will reveal the complexity of the question. Evaluative criteria should, when at all possible, require visible accomplishment of a task, should always be related to the job task, and should mirror as closely as possible satisfactory performance of the task as it is found in the actual work environment.

Some of the benefits of this on-the-job training program include the following:

* a reduction in the time necessary to train a new employee satisfactorily

* a reduction in the number of serious performance errors committed by the newly trained employee

* a more competently prepared training program that can transmit a more professional image of the security department to corporate management

* documentation of the security department's efforts to train its employees adequately (This documentation could be critical in a company's efforts to defend itself against a lawsuit that alleges negligence by a security department employee.)

Hopefully, the system discussed in the previous pages will assist security managers from small and medium-sized departments in the difficult task of training their new employees.
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:on-the-job training program for small & medium-sized security departments
Author:DeSalvo, Gerald L.
Publication:Security Management
Date:May 1, 1989
Previous Article:Security for the golden years.
Next Article:Investigating Employee Conduct.

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