G4S Specialises in Customised Solutions with State-Of-The-Art Technology
The success of an organisation and leader largely depends on the empowerment a leader can get from the management.
An interview with Rajeev Sharma, MD of G4S India
As appeared in A&S magazine, July 2020 issue
Please give us a brief about your journey so far with G4S.
I can describe my last 8 years in G4S as enriching and progressive. It all started in 2005, when I stepped in the Private Security Industry and in the next five years, learned the trade and got to know about the best Organizations in the Industry. It is always a dream for any professional to be part of the best company in the industry and I was no different, hence it was an easy decision to join G4S knowing the brand equity and the culture within the Organization. Early days in the company were quite challenging because of the largeness and complex organization design but that did not deter me from finding my own space and moving ahead. In spite of the complexed Organization design of the company, there were individuals who were easily accessible and highly supportive and I relied on some of the very talented colleagues to learn more about G4S and the domain, and I must confess if not for their guidance and support in my initial days, I would not have been here today.
Early in my tenure, I was nominated for the Global Leadership Program which is a very prestigious and elite program run by the company to identify talent and develop senior managers for leadership roles. This was an 18-month program which gave me a completely new dimension to leadership and business management. Three roles in 5 years sums it all. Success of the organization and leader largely depends on the empowerment leader can get from the management, with G4S this was a plus because of which we continued highly profitable growth in the country and maintained leadership position in the Manned Security business. Technology has been the force behind our innovations and proprietary security solutions Today we run a lean and efficient organization in the country with the highest standard of service and compliance with a team of highly skilled professionals and subject matter experts. I feel as if my journey with G4S started yesterday.
What are the initiatives undertaken by G4S during COVID -19 for its security personnel?
“The health emergency in wake of recent COVID-19 has necessitated an unusual approach towards safeguarding individual health and ensuring a protective work environment. Detailed BCP for every stage and level was implemented across all our offices and was communicated to each and every employee. We engaged at the highest level with all our employees motivating them through the tough period, listening to their suggestions and addressing their grievances in the shortest possible time. We invested heavily on training our workforce in temperature screening, social distancing, sanitizing and adopting safe practice both at home and at work. We also ensured adequate stock of PPE, masks and hand sanitizers even before they went out of demand to equip our Security personnel with them.
During the lockdown and mobility constraints, we ensured none of our employees remain without food and transport and in order to maintain supply chain, we deployed dedicated vehicles and resources across the country operating 24X7. Whenever any of our frontline employees needed any medical assistance, it was provided promptly be it testing, home quarantine, transporting them to their native place or getting their treatment done at the notified hospitals. All our offices and client sites were equipped with the highest level of safety measures including temperature monitoring on the go ensuring early detection of symptoms and preventing spread of Covid-19.
We also opened a dedicated 24X7 counselling line for our frontline employees, allowing them to reach us at any point of time and let us know their requirements, fears, concerns and answers to any questions related to Covid-19 as well as our internal BCP.
What are the measures that can be taken by the security services industry to combat the crisis situation?
A study by ICMR revealed that 80 out of every 100 Covid-19 patients may be asymptomatic or could be showing mild symptoms. Given the situation, regular disinfection and sanitization must be done to supplement existing measures like washing hands, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance. G4S is already providing these services to customers and are looking at increasing our bandwidth as we expect the demand to grow manifold once normalcy returns after the nationwide lockdown is lifted.
Industry has to be responsible enough to educate 9 million employees on Covid-19 and how to stay safe. It is said “Charity begins at home” hence if we are able to educate our employees, I am confident each one of them will be able to educate at least 10 others. The only way to fight Covid-19 is learn to stay safe and follow the right practices like social distancing, personal hygiene, environment cleanliness and this is what is our tool to fight Covid-19. The other most important point is engagement with every employee, and use their expertise in managing the safety protocols at the client sites. Work with the clients in keeping their employees and assets safe. Today millions of sqft space is secured by the security personnel from private security industry hence their availability for duty and engagement with clients is extremely important to fight Covid-19. We have seen tremendous support from the Government in classifying Private Security and Facility Management services under essential services and I must admit Industry has played a very important role in containing the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
Please highlight the services you provide for the education sector emphasizing on the safety aspect of an educational institute.
The Education Sector in India is a niche and sensitive sector from a security standpoint. G4S has been offering professional security solutions and facility management services to the education sector for many years now with a key focus on safety, health and security of students, teachers and school staff. School, College and University campuses have different security and safety requirements because of the profile of students. For a School the most important requirement is safety of the child be it in the campus or on board the bus whereas for a college and university the most important requirement is mob management, restriction on anti-social elements and managing political rallies and gatherings. G4S has customized safety and security solutions for all categories of educational institutes integrating technology with global best practices in manned Guarding.
As I had said above, G4S specializes in developing -customized solutions for every campus while providing qualified personnel and state-of-the-art technology giving video analytics and remote surveillance capability. Our solutions encompass all kinds of electronic security, video surveillance and fire safety needs of the institutions. . G4S has its proprietary software which integrates all the security systems deployed at the institute including the mobility application to track the movement of transport fleet of the Schools.
To ensure a cleaner campus and always on facilities, our Facility Services delivers all kinds of facility management services, ranging from general house-keeping and pantry services to office support staff. In the wake of Covid-19, we have developed a comprehensive disinfectant and sanitizing program for the educational institutes giving the students and the staff a complete sense of security.
How has manned guarding security evolved over the years? Please provide your outlook on the same.
From Chowkidar to Security Guard has been a long journey. In the last 30 years, the industry has become regulated by a central act. Further amendments to labour laws and strict implementation of the same has improved the living standard and earning potential of a Security Guard giving him a much better life. There are approximately 7 million Security Guards in the country today generating revenue of more than INR 100,000 crores. Industry has seen a CAGR of 25% for the last 10 years and is expected to grow anywhere between 15-20% CAGR over the next decade. Today, manned guarding is not that fragmented what it used to be a few years back, which is a positive for the industry. The challenge of sourcing skilled workforce remains and I believe the availability will improve with improvement in the Governance in the sector.
I believe up-skilling the workforce by training them in different areas like business intelligence and analytics, open-source, automation, etc. and making them future-ready will be paramount. The world’s dependence on Artificial Intelligence based tech solutions to manage the work environment will increase multi fold and it will be multi-dimensional. Availability of the quality workforce can reduce the attrition leading to further enhancement in delivery standards ultimately providing momentum to the sector.
With the anticipated growth of the industry, the employment opportunities are tremendous. Since, a majority of the workforce employed is unskilled, the potential for skilling is evident. Current time requires private security personnel to multitask and use technology to perform security, safety and facilitation functions. Skill development, especially Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), reskilling and upskilling are key issues, and therefore, investment in human capital is vital in preparing this industry to take on greater responsibilities. It is imperative for the governments to ensure strict enforcement of the regulations that will improve service delivery quality levels as well as the work environment for the security personnel.
The government can further fuel growth of the industry by supporting regulatory reforms, labour reforms, ease of doing business and allowing 100% FDI through the automatic route. Government can do partnership with companies of repute and global standards to secure some of the key establishments like Airports, Ports, Industries and PSU’s freeing the police and ancillary forces for improving the law and order situation in the country. There are countries worldwide, where the prisons are managed by Private Security Companies and this outsourced model has been very successful and cost effective. I am sure many would have read that the US government in Minneapolis has availed private security services from three manned security companies at $1.30 Million/month each for securing and preventing the retail outlets from being ransacked and robbed. This is an example of Government partnership with Private Security Companies and we in India also must explore these opportunities to provide relief to over stressed assets of the Government.