Supporting Our Team

It’s been a long and demanding time for everyone since Covid-19 arrived. Even more so for the many hardworking fire and security businesses trying to coordinate being Critical Workers whilst adhering to social distancing and working from home policies, and all the time maintaining a positive workforce.

One fire and security specialist implemented a new performance management programme that has proven to enhance communication between the team, especially Engineers, enabling employees to cope better and even develop deeper bonds with their line managers and employers.

As Jamie Allam, CEO of Amthal explains, fundamental to its success is keeping employee engagement levels high and having a robust feedback programme in place to understand the lever and drivers to improve wellbeing, satisfaction and motivation.

Setting The Scene
Employee engagement is all about the relationship between an employee and the business they work for and is primarily focused on the emotional commitment that an individual has to their company and its goals.

The belief is the more engaged the employee, the more motivated and productive they will be in contributing to the overall success of a business.

An engaged employee is someone who understands and believes in the direction in which that company is going. Our employees appreciate how their role affects and contributes to our company’s purpose, mission, vision and values, and they genuinely want our business to succeed.

Amthal actually introduced Clear Review Performance Management in November 2019, much before the Pandemic took hold.

The ideal was to enable more regular and meaningful conversations with the team, and an opportunity to provide honest and open feedback.

Our objective, especially with our Engineers who are often out of the office, was that the team felt listened to and empowered to make positive changes to our business. Changes that can and do only serve to create better customer experiences.

Maintaining high levels of employee engagement became even more important given the extra strain the Covid pandemic has put on staff and employer relationships, with more employees than ever before working remotely, presenting a myriad of new challenges.

During this period, particularly earlier in the year when the working arrangements of employees literally changed overnight, many staff were understandably unsettled, unsure about where to turn, unclear about the circumstances and what resources were available to them. Some may even have worried that they wouldn’t have jobs to go to when they woke up in the morning.

What they knew quickly, as designated by Government as critical workers, there was still a significant role to perform for our customers, to keep premises, staff and residents fire safe and secure.

Our employee engagement programme kicked in to play a vital role in our communication strategy to provide peace of mind. The aim was to gather feedback from our employees in just a few clicks to quickly understand wants, concerns and needs together with the areas where we needed to make rapid change.

Workforce Well-Being in The Security Industry
Amid concerns about the physical health of our co-workers during a pandemic, working from home with a historic recession unfolding, has undoubtedly increased the strain on everyone’s mental wellbeing.

When the pandemic hit, our aim was to anchor our staff back to normality as closely as possible, to stop the situation becoming overwhelming. With Clear Review, we focused on providing a positive message, simply asking that people do their best in difficult circumstances and emphasising that we trusted work would get done.

Continuing team’s empowerment, we regularly sent surveys to ask clearly how our team were dealing with the situation and whether they felt they were getting necessary support directly from management. But equally important was the work and life balance as we all sort to organise our lives around work and care commitments.

Whether our Engineers had the right tools and equipment to do their work was another key question. As a direct result to survey results, and to drive our sustainability goals, we introduced iPads to all our engineers, to ensure more efficient communications, enabling job information to be loaded and received faster, resulting in quicker turnarounds.

This wasn’t simply a tick box exercise, but as an opportunity for all our team to comment honestly and openly with their line managers on their well-being and support.

Over-communication became key, to better understand how people were, and are feeling, with regular catch ups to address individual concerns. We also continued to signpost our options for support, including line managers and mental health first aiders.

Looking Forward
Whilst the initial signs of hope have come in the form of vaccines being distributed in the UK, there is still a long road ahead. Certainly into 2021, we will need to abide by the social distancing rules and continue to operate in an environment of ongoing uncertainty and fluctuating restrictions as we try to keep the virus in check.

But there are increasing industry pressures, especially with the impending introduction of the Fire Safety Bill and Building Safety Bill, that we are working closely with our customers to proactively organise and prepare to achieve the new legislative demands. We need to maintain momentum and ensure we are ready.

We have now completed the 12-month Clear Review Performance Management Academy and confident in taking it forward to continue to motivate and engage our team. It’s built Amthal to deliver on consistent communications and giving a voice to our employees to drive change. With modern engagement tools such as online surveys tools, that can be easily achieved with both our remote and on-site team.

Whilst employee engagement and performance management has provided us with a new foundation to embrace team feedback, it’s also an example of new technologies that is driving our business, and arguably our industry forward.

Security is based on delivering tailored customer requirements for safety, and we are really just on the cusp of seeing the potential of technological advancements and ability to create greater intelligence, faster response systems, visual insights and dedicated data.

Overall, bringing this together, we’re positive about the future with an enhanced framework for reaching out, welcoming feedback and addressing any issues that teams or individuals may have.

Genuine responses from the team has shown we have the agility and resilience to cope with changes in working patterns, whether that’s working from home, or a return to our office, as it deemed safe to do so. It has helped to keep our employees productive and our business moving forward.

When combined, such benefits have made our business stronger, more sustainable and in a good position when things finally return to some level of normality.

Written for IFSEC Global, printed December 14 2020.