Your front desk staff is the face of your organization. When people enter your property, they are usually the first person they’ll see and talk to. They’re in charge of making a great first impression, helping direct people where they need to go, answering questions, confirming or booking appointments, and providing a wide variety of other services.
Because they are the first people visitors will interact with, they are also your first line of defense for office safety.
Having a front desk person that has experience handling security matters could be a critical part of your organization’s overall security environment. In this article, we’re going to examine five reasons why your front desk associates should have a background in security.
Five Reasons Your Receptionist Needs Security Experience
If you have a receptionist or other employee who sits at the front desk or main lobby, you might want to choose a candidate with a background in security. Your reception area is unique because it is one of the few areas of your property that is easily accessible by members of the public. This accessibility makes it a significant source of risk.
Most of the time, your receptionist will be answering phones, greeting visitors, making appointments, and answering people’s questions. But in the event of a security incident, they could play a significant role in the outcome of that event. Here are the five main reasons your front desk employees need security experience.
They Can Play a Critical Role in Emergency Planning and Response
Every organization needs an emergency response plan, and your front desk employees can be a key player in developing and implementing yours. Because they are situated at the front of your building, near the main entrance, they can be a key player in your response to a variety of incidents.
Fire Alarm Response
When your fire alarm goes off, you need to evacuate the building quickly and efficiently to ensure everyone’s safety. Your front desk employees should be familiar with your evacuation plan and be able to coordinate it with the rest of your employees, visitors, and guests.
The same is true for other evacuation causes like a gas leak, chemical spill, or bomb threat. A front desk employee who is well versed with the evacuation plan will help execute that plan flawlessly when the time comes. Plus, they can brief visitors on the locations of exits and evacuation routes.
Front desk employees with security training or experience will have first aid skills that could prove essential in a workplace medical emergency. At the very least, they should be certified to perform CPR and trained on AED usage, as well as being familiar with all your AED locations. Having front desk employees with security and first aid training will go a long way toward improving the safety of your workplace.
They Can Control Access to Your Property
In addition to all the vital roles that your front desk people play, they are also the gatekeeper. As mentioned before, your main lobby or reception area is one of the few areas of your organization open to the public. Therefore, you must have someone standing by to control who can and can’t enter the rest of the property.
Front desk personnel will be responsible for signing visitors in and out of the building, confirming their appointments, and generally making sure that they can access only the areas in which they are permitted. Plus, should you have any trouble with trespassers, vagrants, or solicitors, they can deny them access to any part of the property.
Having a front desk associate with a background in security will help them perform access control duties, know when something or someone seems suspicious, and give them the skills they need to respond to unauthorized access.
They Can Help De-escalate Workplace Incidents
Workplace violence is an unfortunate part of the modern workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20,870 workers experienced trauma from workplace violence in 2019.
A front desk employee with a security background will have unique training and skills to help them de-escalate and respond to heated workplace incidents. In addition, they are uniquely qualified to recognize the warning signs of workplace violence and can step in to manage the situation, potentially preventing injury.
They Can Help Deter or Prevent Theft
With eyes always on your main entrance, front desk employees are the best situated to ensure that packages don’t go missing, people leaving the building with company property are authorized to do so, sensitive information isn’t leaving the building, and more. Plus, front desk employees might handle cash or other valuable assets themselves.
Having security training and experience will help your front desk employees protect your organization against theft.
They are Your Best Witness
Your front desk person has the best idea of what goes on at your office. They see the typical comings and goings day in and day out, and they notice significant changes in this routine. Front desk employees with a security background will be incredibly observant.
If a security event or emergency takes place, your receptionist will likely be your best witness. They can provide timely reporting that could mean the difference between a minor disruption and a full-blown disaster. By hiring a front desk worker with security experience, you make your whole organization safer.
Security Training for Front Desk Employees
We’ve outlined five reasons why your front desk associates should have a background in security, but sometimes it’s impossible to find a qualified candidate that has that experience.
If your receptionist or other front desk employee isn’t experienced in security, you should provide them with corporate security training. Courses like active shooter training, robbery prevention and reaction, workplace harassment, and CPR/AED/first aid training will give your front desk person a well-rounded skill set that will benefit your organization in numerous ways.
If you have questions about security training, get in touch with SMART Security Pros today. We offer a variety of courses to help corporate train all their personnel on critical security matters.