Straight Talk on How to Address Workforce Challenges With Metrics

Straight Talk on How to Address Workforce Challenges With Metrics
Electronic Security Association — June 29, 2023

Many traditional security dealers of days past have transitioned to sophisticated integrators, and now work with security solution technologies once not even dreamed possible. With technological advancements growing more complex and layered, so too have the challenges that come with running large scale integration companies. Back in the day, security dealers typically sold, installed, and got paid. Simple enough. But as integrators expand in both size and scope, they can often develop organizational silos between different departments. One of the most pressing issues the industry faces is significant workforce development challenges that hinder its ability to meet growing demand. Our industry requires individuals with specialized skills and knowledge to design, install, maintain, and service electronic life safety systems and more. 

In their recent ESA Webinar, “The Power of Metrics and Hand-offs in Eliminating Waste and Maximizing Profits,” Bradford Dempsey and Bradley Malone of Solutions 360 focused on proactively using performance indicators and metrics to manage your business, and how it can have profound and lasting impact to your organization’s culture, profitability, and yes, even workforce development. 

Both Dempsey and Malone are well positioned to educate on these topics. Dempsey is CEO and Founder of Solutions 360, a leading provider of Professional Services Automation software and developed around holistic business process management. The company implements software in such a way to support their  customers’ strategic goals and provides them with a platform that evolves with their particular company. Malone serves as both Vice President of Professional Services for Solutions360 and Vice President of Consulting for Navigate Management Consulting, which works with systems integration and related technology companies to achieve better results in every aspect of their business.  

Before going into potential solutions, we must first break down the top challenges when it comes to workforce development for our particular industry. 

Top Workforce Development Challenges 

Aging Workforce 

One of the primary challenges is the aging workforce within the industry. Many experienced professionals are nearing retirement age, leading to a loss of valuable knowledge and skills. The lack of a robust succession plan further exacerbates this problem, making it difficult for integrators to maintain continuity in service quality. 


Skill Gap 

Another issue in the electronic security and life safety industry is the widening skill gap. As technology evolves rapidly, integrators struggle to find qualified professionals with the necessary expertise to handle complex systems and emerging technologies. This gap limits their ability to meet customer demands and adapt to industry advancements effectively.  


Lack of Implementing Training Programs 

Integrators who don’t adopt standardized and widely accessible training programs can hamper the development of their skilled workforce. As a result, it increases the struggle to find or develop well-trained individuals, leading to an inefficient workforce. It is important to provide comprehensive education of the diverse technologies and systems used in the industry.  

As Dempsey and Malone stressed in their Webinar, anything can be measured, so selecting and using those metrics that drive aligned decision-making and the resulting performance is essential. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), by definition, refer to a set of quantifiable measurements used to gauge a company’s overall long-term performance. KPIs specifically help determine a company’s strategic, financial, and operational achievements, especially compared to those of other businesses within the same sector. KPIs tell you how well your business is meeting its goals, and provide accurate and meaningful information to management, which can help form the basis on which better management decisions can be made. In essence, Key Performance Indicators can pave a path to effective management of workforce development. 

Combatting Workforce Development Challenges with Metrics & KPIs 

Succession Planning 

To mitigate the impact of an aging workforce, integrators should focus on creating a robust succession plan. Metrics such as retirement projections, knowledge transfer rates, and mentorship program effectiveness can help organizations monitor and improve their succession planning efforts. Identifying potential successors and providing them with opportunities for growth and development can ensure a smooth transition of both knowledge and expertise. 


Skills Assessment Metrics 

To address the skill gap, integrators can implement skills assessment metrics to evaluate the proficiency of their employees. By conducting regular assessments, organizations can identify skill deficiencies and provide targeted training programs to bridge the gap. Metrics such as certification levels, completion rates of training programs, and technical proficiency scores can help measure and track skill development. Aberdeen Group research found that companies that use pre-hire assessment tests report a 39% lower turnover rate and are 24% more likely to have employees who exceed performance goals. In short, assessments and metrics will help you hire and train smarter. 


Training Program Effectiveness Metrics 

Developing formalized training programs is crucial to building a skilled workforce. Integrators can use metrics like training program participation rates, satisfaction surveys, and post-training performance assessments to gauge the effectiveness of their training initiatives. This data can help identify areas for improvement and ensure that training programs align with the evolving needs of the industry.  


Employee Engagement Metrics 

Employee engagement plays a vital role in attracting and retaining talent within the industry. Integrators can utilize KPIs such as employee satisfaction surveys, turnover rates, and performance reviews to measure engagement levels. By addressing issues highlighted by these metrics, organizations can create a positive work environment that fosters loyalty and motivation among employees.  


Customer Satisfaction Metrics 

Ultimately, the success of integrators depends on their ability to meet customer expectations. Metrics such as customer feedback, response time, Customer Satisfaction surveys (NPS score), and project completion rates can provide insights into overall customer satisfaction levels. By consistently monitoring these metrics, integrators can identify areas where improvements are needed and enhance the overall quality of their services. 

As Dempsey points out, “Strong processes drive accountability. Putting in the right KPIs and having a management group that uses those to guide the business helps create more accountability within the workforce team.” 

The workforce development challenges faced by integrators in the electronic security and life safety industry demand immediate attention and proactivity. By leveraging metrics and KPIs, integrators can address the skill gap, overcome the impact of an aging workforce, and enhance training programs. Additionally, employee engagement and customer satisfaction metrics can contribute to building a highly skilled and motivated workforce capable of meeting the evolving demands of our industry. With a comprehensive approach to workforce development, integrators can navigate the challenges ahead and ensure the safety and security of people and assets in an increasingly complex world. 

“The Power of Metrics and Hand-offs in Eliminating Waste and Maximizing Profits,” Webinar can be viewed in its entirety via the Resources page on the ESA website.