Customer Service Starts with Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is a simple concept: Do your employees feel like an important part of your organization and an important part of the client’s team? Do they share the mission of your organization and the clients they serve?
That doesn’t mean sending out a monthly or quarterly newsletter and calling it a day. At Sunstates Security, we follow many of the best practices for engaging employees at every level, including:
- Ongoing training and opportunities for advancement
- Regular formal and informal meetings with leadership to review operations on-site
- Consistent feedback and praise
- Company-wide recognition and awards
- Employee Appreciation Program where officers can earn merchandise for exceptional service
- Benefits that are continually improved, based on what’s best for employees, not the company
As a result, Sunstates Security’s employee turnover is much lower than the industry average, and our employee retention rate is much higher. That pays off for both the company and our clients.
When employees are motivated to improve themselves and to advance their careers, it makes sense to provide a path for them to do so. We have hundreds of training courses, modules and certification programs for employees who want to take on new responsibilities.
We also promote from within as much as possible. Security officers know that their site supervisors and managers have risen through the ranks and that the same opportunities are available to them. Employees who aren’t interested in career advancement still have regular opportunities to extend and sharpen their skills.
Providing Regular Feedback
Our managers don’t sit behind a desk, but are encouraged to visit sites regularly, meeting with Sunstates employees and clients. Many of our site improvements and operational changes have come from employees who shared ideas and issues with supervisors during informal site visits. All this is made possible by a quality-driven management structure in which managers have very small client portfolios.
Employees also know that if they mention an issue to a visiting supervisor, such as the need for different equipment or a better way to patrol the site, their concerns will be heard, and action will happen quickly.
Each month, Sunstates employees receive hundreds of gift cards, awards and other recognition for providing exceptional service, earning client praise, or confidently handling a potential emergency. They are also highlighted in company communications and on social media.
In addition, they earn points that can be redeemed for additional gifts.
Sunstates also recognizes when employees are being asked to provide extra service. Managers visit security officers who are away from their families and working on holidays to thank and recognize them. Officers receive gifts certificates for holiday meals and other perks, again as a way of thanking them for their service. Last year, we provided more than 700 vouchers for holiday meals to security officers and supervisors.
A prime example of successful employee engagement is our latest change to our PTO (paid time off) policy.
Because of our growing client base and the pandemic, many of our security officers have been unable to use all of their vacation time. For many years, Sunstates has purchased up to 40 hours of unused vacation from employees each year, limiting the hours only to ensure that everyone has the chance to enjoy a well-deserved break. This year, a regional manager recommended increasing the vacation buy-back limit for 2020 to reward those individuals who have shown up for work, day after day, throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
We have also shortened the waiting period for employees to participate in our matching 401(k) program and expanded the open enrollment periods to make it easier for employees to take advantage of this important savings program.
The bottom line: Our business has grown by more than 20% during the past eight years, including 2020, because Sunstates takes care of its employees and those employees take care of our clients.
That’s how employee engagement benefits everyone.
For more information on how Sunstates Security manages on-site security, or for an evaluation of your existing security, please call 866-710-2019 or contact us.