It is accepted that there are 6000+ security companies in India and 5+ million working in them. The security guards, uniformed and imposing, after the training received, make the institutions, the properties’ owners and the citizens better served, with the service of filtration and guidance.
They are a source of employment and it would be interesting that these Companies make a reflection on how they are filling the expectations of their workers and the citizens. Ask oneself what they can do for the people employed, to make their work more fulfilling and how to help them improve their abilities, challenging them, creating opportunities for learning to do better and aspire for better-paid employments.
The guards have usually long daily schedules, sometimes exceeding 10 hours a day. All that time is not much demanding and frequently boring and they may feel under-utilised. It is easy that they give attention to daily tasks, at the same time being able to hear some talks/lessons to learn new things.
It helps that a phone call is at a zero marginal cost and the guard can be frequently in touch with his wife and children, without feeling much idleness.
The legal frame looks to be well-designed to allow many security companies to act in several cities, hiring and training the personnel.
In the security jobs or any others: it is of extreme importance for each person to have a job. It is not enough to assure a minimum guaranteed income, which is important, but an occupation of mind and hands to work, think and improve. Doing something useful to society at large is the other side of compensation one looks for.
For this purpose, I remember a Bangladeshi professor who was asked about the most fascinating microcredit he had conceded. He told a story of a lady living on alms, begging in the city of Dhaka, whom he met from time to time. He asked why she didn’t go to Grameen Bank for microcredit. She had doubts if she could pay back the credit… but after some time she took the initiative to tell the professor: “Yes will go to the bank to ask for a credit, but only half of the value you suggested” (It was insignificant, indeed). “Do as you like”, he said.
Sometime later, he met her again. “How are things”, he asked? “She did not tell me about money but told this story: “I went to a house where I used to ask for alms. From inside, a voice: “Come another day”! And I replied: “I’m not coming for alms; I bring something to sell you”. “Professor, this was the first time that I was invited to enter and sit down!”
No need to explain that for the alms-giver, it was like recognising the dignity of human work…
Back to the security jobs: Hiring, training and allocating a job is the first step, along with some others the security company could care for improving the situation of its employees. There could be room for some innovations to improve the skills and earnings of his employees. Some steps could be taken:
1. Recycling periodically, to remember how to attend to the people politely and give accurate responses to their queries.
2. Go further with new programs of skill development, according to the desires of each one. This would be oriented toward the personal growth of the guards, who did never have the opportunity to learn a skill.
When do that? During the normal daily period of work, with the emission by radio or TV, short lessons on the basics of skills creation, through images sent on the mobile phone screen (There will be interruptions, but it will not be impeditive to learning.)
2.1. Lessons explaining the basics of carpentry, plumbing, painting, fixing mechanical parts of chairs, tables, etc. And one would learn only one skill at a time, with the needed sessions per skill.
2.2. There will be a need for workshops to give practical training and practice. These could be for 2 to 3 hours, once a week, in small groups of 10, under an experienced coach.
The Security Company can contact entities in such fields to train and also contract professional/technical schools, with well-adjusted schedules. This teaching could be complemented by indicating some well-selected Apps, for each skill, to train himself and improve his knowledge.
3. Besides, there could be a daily class of one language, namely English which can give better earnings in big cities, frequented by tourists (foreign or national). And it could be also another Indian language…
Who will pay these extra expenses? All companies contribute to a fund under the CSR; there can be a variety of Foundations for skill development, to apply. In any case, the whole amount to spend looks to be relatively insignificant compared with the earnings of the Company and more with the benefits to the employees.
People who acquired some skills can use their time, after work hours, to deliver services to the condominium. The residents would call for their service to fix or compose or substitute some things, obviously paying the fair value. Acting with prudence, first as the “second” person to help the more experienced, one gains confidence and improves the skills.
I have in mind one Condominium in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. It comprises 7 buildings, each of 25 floors and 4 flats on one floor. That means 100 flats per building and 700 flats on the whole. There is one general responsible for the condominium, paid by the residents. Each building has its adjunct-responsible, with a direct role in the functioning of the building and solving of all the problems: security, cleaning and washing, rubbish collection, etc.
There are approximately 110 workers in such condominium.
We will have more and more neighbourhoods with several tall buildings in our city and others in India. It is good to think about what solutions are working. So we do not need to invent everything but improve what we find acceptable. We need to find who will fix the variety of problems very near to the condominium, and with known people inspiring trust, based on the proofs already given.
(The author is professor
at the AESE-Business