When it comes to employee welfare and people management, there are very few businesses that can compete with FGH.
The consistently high standards set by the team have won them a myriad of accolades. Peter Harrison, Managing Director at FGH, got in touch to tell us about their approach to welfare, and how other providers can follow suit to help raise working standards across the industry.
Any security provider that does not acknowledge the occasional slipping of a bad egg into the troops is frankly not being truthful. Similarly, we have all had good people leave a show unexpectedly and faced candidates leaving employment without giving any notice. This in conjunction with times of increased deployment activity, and additional customer requirements, makes large crowd management deployments additionally complex.
Each time we are faced with such problems, we reflect, review, and consider the things which make life easier, improve and streamline recruitment and increase retainment rates.
This has led us to configure our people management solutions around our values: we recruit using our values, we train using our values, reward and recognise those people that use our values. Our values are constantly imparted to our team, especially those working in supervisory and leadership roles. We rely on our people to uphold our welfare provision and let us know that it is fully effective.
A scientific approach
At FGH we created our welfare policies with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (1943) in mind. If we want people to excel and flourish, to make good decisions, to be alert and apply knowledge we have shared – then we must start with the basics and work up.
For those of you not familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the framework comprises a five-tier model of human needs including physiological, safety and security, love and belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualisation.
This pyramid of fulfilment underpins our people management ethos and shapes our provisions when teams are deployed at events.
We provide three meals a day; our menu is designed in coordination with a caterer who is present at every event. We ensure it fulfils an individual’s daily calorie requirements and have a ready supply of fruit to snack on throughout the day.
We lead from the front with regards to healthy eating practices, ensure the team get 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, provideing and catering for dietary preferences. 2018 saw us ban the sale of all energy drinks from the staff canteen and 2019 saw us replace all chocolate bars with cereal bars.
For 2020 initiatives that we are considering include doing our bit to help climate change by introducing at least one meat-free day at our festival deployments.
We supply all our people with a sports bottle, saving around 200,000 plastic bottles annually from the landfill; Supervisors are rigorous in checking bottles are present and full prior to starting shift.
Our team have access to tea and coffees, everyone is provided with a reusable travel mug and we are sure to keep responsibly sourced brews flowing day and night for people working on various shift patterns. This is always free of charge and when the heavens open (good old British summers) our management and welfare teams patrol with flasks of tea and coffee to ensure that though the weather may be drab, spirits remain high!
Safety and security needs
Our Uniform provisions cover all eventualities, it’s also worth mentioning that we do not charge or take a deposit for any of our uniform. As standard our team are issued with woolly hats for the cold and baseball caps for the sun. They have a jumper for the midnight chill and waterproof jackets for the British summer rainfalls.
All of our team are provided with ear defence, sunscreen and gloves as standard. This is not only readily available, but we encourage team members to take supplies with them and we actively top them up with supplies whilst out on shift.
We take a large freezer everywhere we go, filled with cold treats. Inspired by the Indian Dabbawalas, we have a complex logistical plan that is actioned at the point the temperature reaches 25 degrees. This has seen us deliver as many as 300 ice lollies in as little as 15 minutes. We can repeat this up to three or four times a day.
As we recruit one team for the whole season, and do not recruit locally for each event, the team travel with us. It is not uncommon for a person on patrol to cover a marathon on foot daily. Naturally foot problems are rife, so we bring a foot doctor out to site to give advice on looking after our feet. They have been known on occasions to even perform minor surgery!
We also recruit from and sponsor sports’ teams (over a dozen at last count) and encourage physical fitness in our team. Everyone needs to maintain a good level of physical fitness to facilitate positive mental health. We take a mobile gym to all our large deployments and run a running club for all interested parties from site.
Love and belonging needs
We recognise that most people will experience mental health challenges at some point in their lives. With this in mind, we have organised a 24/7 anonymous wellbeing helpline that is available for all our people from the first day of their employment.
We offer plenty of face-to- face support, but sometimes people prefer speaking to a stranger therefore we also offer a helpline that is completely anonymous; it was used over 100 times this summer.
We have a 24/7 team available onsite to assist with personal needs of all employees, the team keep a log of all HR needs that is relayed to our People and Culture Manager post-event. They have a stock of spare sleeping bags and tents, phone chargers of every type and are all trained in offering mental health support.
We provide free transport from key transport hubs, this allows our team to get to work well-rested and frees them from the worry of transport costs.
Our team are typically away from home a lot, so it is only right we provide free of charge private medical care for all our people. They can have access to a GP on the telephone, or via FaceTime, with a guaranteed appointment within two hours every time. We don’t want them worrying about loved ones either, so family members who live in the same household are also included.
Finally, we host a whole range of Christmas parties across multiple cities; all paid for. To keep the fitness and camaraderie up, we host hiking events out-of-season that have seen our team scale Scafell, Helvellyn and Skiddaw to name a few.
We performance manage all our employees and create ILPs (Individual Learner Plans) to facilitate excellence, and help our staff feel confident that they can handle the challenges of the job. We’re not happy limiting our staff to basic SIA training, so have devised additional free mandatory training in H&S, Safeguarding, Mental Health, First Aid, Rape and Sexual Assault Awareness, Drugs Awareness and Counter Terrorism.
When the season is over, we hold a variety of presentation nights, that see us give Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum awards out. This includes over 400 T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies embossed with our company values and customer logos.
For the past three years we have rewarded and incentivised our team members with a holiday prize draw; raffle tickets are distributed proportionate to events partaken in. It’s seen us send 20 of our team on holidays abroad that they could never normally afford.
Finally, we train in supervision and management but also recognise leadership as a separate training module, furthermore, we require training as part of incremental pay increases. Trainers are positioned within the business to help identify and encourage future leaders across the business.
Finally, we are the only security and crowd management company to ever feature as a Times Top 100 employer.
We are also the only one to ever achieve a Mind Wellbeing Award. In 2019 we achieved Silver accreditation and were ranked as the 39th best organisation in the UK on the wellbeing index.
Refining our practices
We hope this article has provided some insight and ideas into the work that goes on behind the scenes to keep a crowd management operation running. Welfare provision really comes into its own when conditions are tough, when weather is bad, when something doesn’t go to plan and extra hours are needed, those times when an incident occurs, and people need extra support.
During these difficult times we need to provide a little bit more to help our staff dig deeper, and they give a little bit more in return. From FGH’s experience, since investing in welfare, we have seen an uplift in employee NPS (net promotor scores), happier customers, better feedback from the public, more people wishing to join our team (we receive 2000 expressions of interest for 200 positions each year), better retention and more referrals from current employees.
We are not perfect, we are always learning and will continue to refine and hone our practices, but always with staff welfare in mind.
If you’d like to become part of FGH Security’s success story please see their advert on page 29 of the latest magazine. Alternatively, would you like to find out how FGH can enhance your event? Visit www.fghsecurity.co.uk to find out more.