Magazine article Security Management

Training 1990: A Video Odyssey

Magazine article Security Management

Training 1990: A Video Odyssey

Article excerpt

Training 1990 A VIDEO ODYSSEY

QUALITY. CONSISTENCY. EFFECTIVENESS. Nearly every security executive recognizes the importance of these goals in personnel training. Often, however, these goals are diluted by the realities of corporate life. Among an avalanche of competing demands, training is typically pushed to the bottom of the heap or delegated into oblivion. Many security organizations do not have the time, budget, or resources to design, produce, and deliver training programs that continously achieve all three goals.

The consequences of inadequate or improper training can be seen daily in the media. Spectacular headlines tell the tale of enormous property losses due to theft and fraud. For each case in the news dozens of similar stories go untold. Right or wrong, the image of security professionals is tarnished, and the need for effective training becomes more critical than ever.

The question then, is how well personnel are being trained. From a positive perspective, training effectiveness can be measured by the degree of skill, productivity, and professionalism of the staff. From a negative perspective, training effectiveness can be measured by the number, type, and impact of mistakes those people make. Unfortunately, in this litigious society, others judge training effectiveness harshly and evaluate it more often by what people do wrong than what they do right.

This article will discuss the effectiveness of such training tools as manuals, workshops, and on-the-job training. It will also examine a new approach to security training, interactive videodisc training.

Most security training programs rely on one or more of the following training approaches: manuals, workshops, and on-the-job training. While these tools are essential ingredients of a comprehensive training program, they have their limitations.

Manuals. Security manuals typically fit into one of two categories: The Complete, Unabridged Guide to Security or Security at a Glance. Complete Guide manuals are typically drafted by or with the assistance of legal counsel and usually contain the full detail of all key policies and procedures. While a law student may find these manuals fascinating, and their sheer bulk is impressive, the average security employee cannot even begin to decipher them let alone use them as a guide to behavior.

At a Glance manuals, on the other hand, offer the short course. These manuals are typically written, under duress, by an overworked security manager and are updated every five years or so. These highlight key policies and procedures but frequently do not give enough information to help people do their jobs effectively and professionally.

Complete Guide or At a Glance manuals all have limitations as training tools. The effectiveness of a manual depends not only on how complete it is and how clearly it is written but also in the reading skills of its users. While a manual can cover the do's, don'ts, and how to's, it cannot effectively communicate the why's and what if's - the critical elements of understanding that build professional judgment. Further, people remember only about 10 percent of what they read. So 90 percent of the content of even the best manual is forgotten over time.

The conclusion is that a security manual should not serve as a primary training tool. A manual is best used as a reference, a single location where everyone knows to look for the specifics of policies and procedures. The skills and judgment required to carry out those policies and procedures should be taught in a more effective manner.

Workshops. When resources permit, workshops are developed to communicate policies and procedures and to teach critical skills and judgment. These workshops are typically led either by security executives or managers or by experienced, skilled security personnel.

While a workshop leader's years of experience may provide him or her with much knowledge, that experience frequently does not translate into effectiveness as an instructor. …

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