Training Top 125 Best Practice: Walden Security’s Security Officer Training
In 2006, Walden Security identified a need to create more robust and comprehensive training for all security officers, operating across all industries, in order to consistently deliver quality service to all clients regardless of industry or location. The firm reworked and launched its Security Officer Training program to extend beyond the initial training previously delivered.
The new Security Officer Training approach involves blended and modular learning methods that meet Kirkpatrick Level 2 to 4 standards. Walden Security first established program goals that were aligned with its business strategies:
- To improve service to all customers, the training must effectively teach Walden Security standards in a way that is easy for officers to understand and apply, measure effectiveness, educate officers beyond the initial training, and build in a coaching mechanism to address skill deficiencies.
- To reduce cost, the training must incorporate alternative methods of training and utilize the firm’s learning management system (LMS) to deliver training when possible.
Walden Security then outlined the framework and requirements of the training to create a four-stage training model. The training combines traditional instructor-led training (ILT) with videos, discussion forums, and role-play to create an interactive ILT. All training is taught by certified instructors.
4-Stage Training Model
Stage 1: Initial Security Officer Training (ISOT) (minimum 16 hours interactive ILT): Performed by state-certified instructors, ISOT builds a basic understanding of the role of security officers and skill sets to be effective. The interactive ILT uses traditional facilitation, videos, discussion forums, and role-play. Comprehension is evaluated with a final 100-question assessment.
Stage 2: On-the-Job Training (OJT) (minimum 8 hours): This is customized to meet the needs of the specific job site and is performed by a site or shift supervisor, who demonstrates skills and guides and evaluates performance of skills. Participants do not move onto the next skill until performance meets standards. Performance is tracked through a checklist.
Stage 3: Refresher Training (minimum 8 hours): These micro-training sessions last less than one hour and cover only one topic that is relevant to the security officer’s current jobsite. The sessions are delivered through the LMS as e-learning modules, videos, or read and reviews, or through hands-on training with a site or shift supervisor. Refresher training occurs once a month, and comprehension is evaluated with an assessment.
Stage 4: Field Supervision Coaching (Hours Vary): Local field supervisors perform daily site inspections. On-the-spot coaching is delivered as deficiencies are found.
Over the past years, Security Officer Training has effectively produced quality security officers who consistently exceed client expectations.
Kirkpatrick Level 2 (assessments): Since 2014, Walden officers average a score of 91, which is 13 percent higher than the firm’s minimum passing score of 80; it is 30 percent higher than most states’ minimum passing score of 70 (no data is available prior to 2014, when the firm changed to a new workforce management system).
Kirkpatrick Level 3 (behavior change; added in 2011): In the annual client satisfaction survey, every year since 2011, 90 percent of Walden Security’s clients have stated that its security officers meet or exceed expectations. They also have ranked the quality of Walden’s security officers in the firm’s top three strengths every year.
Kirkpatrick Level 4 (business impact): Since creating this training in 2006, Walden Security’s client retention rate has been 97 percent (it was not previously measured).