Benchmark your security staffing

July 2016 — How do you know if your security workforce is staffed with the appropriate number of guards and staff for investigations and roving patrols? FMs typically receive concerns from employees regarding unknown people in their area or missing items. No matter what level of staffing you provide, you still receive these types of concerns but having staff at the right level will go a long ways toward reducing them.

First, have a good service level standard:

  • Are the opening and closing hours for visitors clearly posted?
  • Are the manned entry points clearly marked?
  • Do employees actively prohibit tailgating?
  • Are badges worn and visible?
  • Are employee photos updated on a regular basis?
  • Is there sufficient security staff for patrol rounds?
  • Are rounds scheduled at random times?
  • Is training for the security staff provided at regular intervals?
  • Are theft reports thoroughly investigated?

Based on your responses to the above items, and more criteria based on your business needs, you should be able to establish standards that are appropriate to your functional needs and the occupancy levels in the facility.

Second, verify that the standards are being followed. Security contractors will typically move their best performers from client to client when there are complaints. Make sure you are not the one providing a training base for their workforce. It is also a common industry practice to under-staff the security workforce after a certain period, especially during off hours.

Third, verify that your staffing levels are appropriate with a benchmarking tool. You will need two data points to complete this task:

  1. Total area secured.
  2. Number of FTE security staff that are actually on the job.

We have used FM BENCHMARKING Query to obtain the benchmarking comparisons shown in the graph below. Two filters have been applied

  1. Gross Area: > 600,000 GSF
  2. Building Type: Office

This provides 161 buildings for comparison.

Figure 1 –Query Edition Filters: Gross Area & Primary Use Provided courtesy of FM BENCHMARKING

Figure 1 –Query Edition Filters: Gross Area & Primary Use
Provided courtesy of FM BENCHMARKING

From this information we can see that first quartile security staffing levels are at about 15,500 GSF secured per worker. The median value is about 14,100 GSF secured per worker.

Figure 2 –Area Secured per FTE Security Worker with Filters: Gross Area > 600,000 GSF, Primary Use = Office. Provided courtesy of FM BENCHMARKING

Figure 2 –Area Secured per FTE Security Worker with Filters: Gross Area > 600,000 GSF, Primary Use = Office.
Provided courtesy of FM BENCHMARKING

Now you should verify what level of security staffing you have using the FTE count and area secured for your facility. If it is significantly higher or lower then take additional actions to bring the staffing level back into the appropriate range.

Articles are based on data from FM BENCHMARKING, the online benchmarking tool for facilities managers and CREs. Data tracked by FM BENCHMARKING includes cost data (utilities, maintenance, custodial, security), sustainability data, and best practices. For more information, go to www.fmbenchmarking.com.

FM BENCHMARKING is a collaboration between Facility Issues and FMLink.