Well-Trained Employees Make Risk Management a Team Effort
By Elizabeth Johnson Senior Public Relations & Marketing Manager, American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute | December 25, 2011
Guest safety and security are not the sole responsibility of a property's security or risk management team. Every hotel employee plays a role in maintaining the security of the property and its guests. Therefore, training in basic security awareness and response is a necessary component of every employee's orientation and continued training, no matter what department they work in. Security training issues to be covered include protecting guests' information and assets, recognizing and reporting unsafe conditions, fire prevention, and anti-terrorism awareness. Training develops confident employees who perform their security duties as one aspect of the service they deliver to guests.
When guests visit a property, they expect a stay that is clean, comfortable-and safe. Even if they can't quote the law, they know that a hotel has a duty to provide reasonable care for the safety and security of its guests. That includes having someone on staff who is responsible for security and risk management.
But whether that person is a director of risk management, security director, or the general manager, he or she can't single-handedly manage every possible security risk. That takes a team effort and a commitment by everyone on staff to be aware of potential risks and to do their part to keep guests safe. A big part of any risk manager's job is training all employees to think about security as they perform their daily tasks.
Educate Employees about Reasonable Care
Clarence Izzard, senior risk control manager for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, stated that the basis for all employee security training is the concept of reasonable care.
"So much of security is common sense," he said. "Reasonable care explains what we do and why we do it." He noted that the scope of safety and security topics for which employees need a basic understanding includes everything from guest lock-outs, missing articles, and noise complaints to power failures, drug use and manufacture (meth labs), and the death of a guest, and numerous other minor and major concerns.
Hotel employees are the eyes and ears of a successful risk management program. They are the ones in the guestrooms and corridors, and they know when things are not quite right. Their role is to be alert of potential security problems and promptly report them to security. Something as simple as reporting a burned-out light bulb in a corridor may prevent an accident or a robbery.
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