People Spotlight – Jose Saez

Our People Recognition
8 December 2022

In our latest Portico People Blog Series, we spoke with Jose Saez, our operations manager at Portico Safe.

Jose joined the Portico team in June 2021 to spearhead our latest security offering, Portico Safe.
The idea behind Portico Safe is to complement existing front-of-house services and become the singular point of welcome. To this end, Jose oversees all security contracts and is responsible for upskilling Portico’s front of house colleagues so they have the right tools and knowledge to thrive in the security industry.

It’s been a busy undertaking so far, but Jose took some time out to speak about his career and experience with Portico to date.

Q: Tell us a bit about your background in security.
My first role in the sector was on a zero hours contract working across up to 25 different sites as team support, covering both front of house and security roles. My next company hired me as an assistant guest services manager, before I moved to CIS as an operations manager overseeing 20 sites.

These experiences confirmed to me front of house and security can and should blend into a seamless service. We need to instil change into the security sector because it has been complacent for too long – the stigma around the industry being full of grumpy old men has to change, and the shift to embedding a concierge style service will help this to be realised.

Q: What has you journey with Portico been like so far?
Certainly busy! But it has also been extremely rewarding to see the Portico Safe offering develop.
Much of my early work involved laying the groundwork, setting up contracts, compliance, health and safety and all the particulars needed to launch something as comprehensive as this. A key component has been developing the learning and development programme and resources.

Our approach is to hire front of house naturals and train them on the security essentials in line with SIA. This training is very thorough, but if you have the right attitude and application, you can easily become a highly valuable asset to anybody’s team.

In December 2021 I became operations manager. Today, I manage 12 front of house contracts for corporate and residential clients.

Q: What do you see as the greatest opportunity for the security sector?
Investing in people is the greatest opportunity we have and also the chance means to solve the sector’s greatest challenge – retaining employees. We need to constantly develop and enhance learning opportunities to keep people on their toes and ensure they feel valued. Even at a managerial level, I don’t want somebody in the same role for three or four years.

Q: Why do you think the blend of FOH and security works so well?
It’s simple – they both serve as hosts when people arrive at a building. They are the first faces you see, and both roles involve caring for the wellbeing of both the building assets and the people using them.

Sceptics will say that this skews security away from its core role of protecting assets. Actually, the opposite is true as you will have a bigger overall team, all of which are trained in security. At Knightsbridge Gate, we have proven the concept of security concierge really does work.

Q: What’s the greatest challenge or most interesting hurdle you’ve had to overcome?
We have pioneered this blended approach of hiring front of house and putting them through the SIA licensing process. As with any change to a long-established status quo, there is always going to be a degree of jeopardy and risk attached, but we knew the sector had to change and are certainly not going to be looking back. It has been a fascinating journey.

Q: In your opinion, what makes a great security officer?
There are five traits that spring to mind – exemplary customer service skills, attention to detail, time management, an ability to actively listen, and a willingness to follow processes. These are all key ingredients.

Q: What’s your favourite thing about your job?
I have really enjoyed being able to implement change together with our team. A lot of it has happened on the ground, which is where I still love to be – in and amongst the hustle and bustle and see how we put smiles on people’s faces.