International Security Day 2023 at Portico

Portico Safe
24 July 2023

Ahead of International Security Officer’s Day, our head of Portico Safe, which is our guest services and security hybrid offer, spoke to FMJ about the changing nature of security service provision.

How can front-of-house continue to balance security and safety while creating a welcoming environment?

Security awareness training is crucial for guest services teams as it enhances their knowledge and understanding of the environment in which they are operating, increases their awareness of the guests within the property, and supports them to carry out their role most effectively. Simply saying “hello” is a very popular and powerful hostile reconnaissance disruption technique.

Alongside this, Portico Safe, our innovative new business support service, combines traditional guest services roles with security. This means that our security operatives are taught traditional reception skills alongside enhanced training in threat prevention and detection, conflict resolution, first aid, fire marshal support, proactive management of hazards, and building health and safety.

This cross-discipline training for both our guest services employees and security operatives enables us to provide our clients with the highest level of service as well as peace of mind.

Can front-of-house help to create a community feel as building managers strive to encourage people back into the workplace?

Absolutely, and our guest services teams already do so in many locations. They work closely with building managers to engage with tenants and promote a wide range of services, from offers, experiences and events onsite to days out and networking opportunities. This added value, which our guest services teams are intrinsic in providing, supports the establishment of a sense of community which helps to retain tenants.

How much of a challenge is it for the front-of-house sector to recruit and retain suitable people to take on customer-facing roles?

It has certainly become more challenging, during the pandemic many people used time at home to upskill meaning that, now, there is less demand for entry-level positions. Post-pandemic, candidates are also looking for a role more suited to their lifestyle and, as part of this, the benefits and working hours a company provides have become a priority.

To navigate this at Portico, we have recently launched an enhanced employee benefits scheme, designed to reward success and place the well-being and satisfaction of team members at the heart of the business. The first phase of the scheme includes access to enhanced health and wellbeing services, nutritional and mental health consultations, and a cycle-to-work scheme. This is as well as a paid charity day to support causes close to employees’ hearts, gym membership discounts, and free opportunities for learning and development available to all staff. Additionally, Portico offers employees strong routes for career progression, the flexibility to shape their roles around their life requirements, and a supportive and nurturing environment which is complemented by frequent social events to bring teams together in a relaxed environment outside of work.

Alongside this, we recognise the importance of promoting avenues for communication. Heartbeat, Portico’s internal communications app, is one of the most powerful ways we have been able to address this. By bringing teams together to share news, ask questions, and learn from each other, it provides employees with a sense of community, wherever their location, and enables them to connect in an empowering, inclusive and positive environment. This partners perfectly with our annual conference, awards ceremony, long service awards and town halls which give employees physical opportunities to come together, network and celebrate their achievements.