Strategic Security

 

 

https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Running-on-Empty.aspxRunning on EmptyGP0|#28ae3eb9-d865-484b-ac9f-3dfacb4ce997;L0|#028ae3eb9-d865-484b-ac9f-3dfacb4ce997|Strategic Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a43444652017-02-01T05:00:00Zhttps://adminsm.asisonline.org/pages/mark-tarallo.aspx, Mark Tarallo<p>​In this age of overload, with organizations trying to do more with less, employees buried in information, and devices that call for round-the-clock urgency, burnout is a malady ripe for our times. Burnout can strike even the most productive workers and the most consistent performers, as well as those who seem to have the greatest capacity for hard work, experts say. </p><p>One reason burnout is such a pernicious problem is that it does not have to be total for its effects to be devastating.</p><p>“Burnout tends to plateau rather than peak,” says Paula Davis-Laack, specialist in burnout prevention programs, founder and CEO of the Stress and Resilience Institute, and author of Addicted To Busy: Your Blueprint for Burnout Prevention. “Burnout exists on a continuum. You don’t have to be completely mentally broken down and barely able to get out of bed to feel major effects.”</p><p>In other words, employees suffering mid-level burnout may still be able to power through and complete an adequate amount of work by sheer force of will, but their partially depleted state greatly hinders their performance and productivity, and it keeps them from realizing their full potential. </p><p>“That can go on for months, or even years, depending on the person’s work ethic,” says management expert Brady Wilson, cofounder of Juice Inc. and author of Beyond Engagement and other business performance books. </p><p>In a field like security, workers can be especially vulnerable to burnout, given the continual pressure and stress that go into protecting people and assets, and the high stakes involved if a breach does occur. </p><p>“Constant job pressure, especially when some of the factors are out of your control like they are with security, is definitely one of the causes of burnout in employees,” says Carlos Morales, vice president of global sales, engineering, and operations at Arbor Networks, which specializes in network security. </p><p>The consequences of burnout are varied; in some cases, they involve serious health issues. Davis-Laack, who became a specialist in the field after burning out as a practicing attorney, says she experienced weekly panic attacks and a few stomachaches that were so painful they sent her to the emergency room. Coronary disease, depression, and alcohol abuse are other possible consequences. </p><p>For the employer, burnout can significantly compromise workplace quality, causing more absenteeism, turnover, accident risk, and cynicism, while lowering morale and commitment and reducing willingness among workers to help others.</p><p>Fortunately, in many cases burnout can either be avoided, with deft management and a supportive organization, or significantly alleviated using various strategic methods. But like most maladies, it must be understood before it can be properly addressed. ​</p><h4>Symptoms and Conditions</h4><p>Burnout occurs when the demands people face on the job outstrip the resources they possess to meet them. Psychologists who study burnout as a condition divide it into it three dimensions: exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment.</p><p>When the first aspect—exhaustion—hits, the employee may feel emotionally, physically, and cognitively depleted. This often spurs feelings of diminished powers; challenges that were formerly manageable can seem insurmountable. As Davis-Laack describes her own experience of this condition: “Every curveball seems like a crisis.”</p><p>When depersonalization occurs, an employee may start to feel alienated from his or her own job, and more cynical and resentful toward the organization. Work and its mission lose meaning; feelings of going-through-the-motions increase. Detached and numb, the employee tries to plow ahead. </p><p>Exhaustion and depersonalization often combine to produce the third component of reduced personal accomplishment. As Wilson explains, the depleted employee possesses considerably less “executive function,” or the ability to focus, self-regulate, connect the dots between ideas, strategize, analyze, execute smoothly, and follow through—all of which can be thought of as “the power tools of innovation.” </p><p>“Nuanced thinking and value-added thinking are the first to go when employees are exhausted,” he says. “Instead, they rely on duct-tape fixes, reactivity, firefighting. They don’t get to the root causes of problems and issues.” </p><p>The state of mind that burnout can elicit sometimes leads to self-blame, where the employee feels that he or she is professionally inadequate. But that is unfair, says Davis-Laack: “I don’t want individual workers to feel that it’s all their fault.” </p><p>The root causes of burnout, she explains, are usually a product of what employees bring to the table—work ethic, how closely they tie work to self-worth, their level of perfectionism—and how the organization itself functions, which can be an important factor. </p><p>Understanding key organizational conditions, experts say, will help managers maintain a culture that protects employees from burning out. One of these conditions involves what the organization chooses to reward. </p><p>Wilson explains this as follows. For many years, many organizations stressed the importance of keeping employees engaged. But the definition of engagement has shifted, so that many firms now define engaged workers as those with clear dedication and commitment, who come to work early and stay late. “What’s missing from this definition is passion, enthusiasm, verve, and spirit,” he says. </p><p>When engagement is so defined, increased effort, such as working more hours and taking on more projects, is rewarded. But simply increasing hours at the office does not produce high performance, Wilson says. </p><p>“We get our epiphanies in the shower—we don’t get them when we are determined and gritting our teeth around a board room table. It’s not effort that produces brilliance, it’s energy,” he explains. But sometimes, the more-rewards-for-more-work philosophy can function as an unintentional incentive to burn out.</p><p>The organization’s day-to-day working conditions are also a crucial here. Research has found that two factors can be deadly in sapping an employee’s resources, according to Davis-Laack. </p><p>One is role conflict and ambiguity, which can occur when employees are never clear on exactly what is expected of them, and on what part they should be playing in active projects. “That’s very wearing on people,” she says. </p><p>Another is unfairness, which is often related to office politics. This can include favoritism, failure to recognize contributions, being undermined, or dealing with the demands of never-satisfied supervisors.</p><p>Such stressful conditions push some employees into “gas guzzling” energy mode, because they require so much emotional effort just to cope with them, Wilson says. </p><p>“Substances generated by stress, such as cortisol and adrenaline, have a beautiful utilitarian use—to get us out of trouble, to keep us safe,” he explains. “But we are not as productive when we have a brain that is bathed in those things day in and day out.”  ​</p><h4>Detection</h4><p>Although it is vital for managers to strive to maintain a positive office culture, it’s also important to recognize that burnout can happen even in the healthiest of environments. Given this, Morales encourages attempts at early detection.  </p><p>“As a manager or executive, it is important to first note the factors that tend to cause burnout even before employees begin to show signs,” he says. “This gives you the opportunity to address issues proactively with employees.” </p><p>These factors, he explains, include a very travel-heavy schedule (50 percent or more of total work time); consistently logging work weeks of 60-plus hours; unrelenting expectations of working off-hours and on weekends; and constant deadline time pressure. </p><p>But since early detection is not always successful or even possible in some cases, managers should also be looking for common signs of burnout that their employees might be exhibiting. Morales advises security managers to look for combinations of the following characteristics that are different from usual behaviors:</p><ul><li><p> General lack of energy and enthusiasm around job functions and projects.<br></p></li><li><p> Extreme sensitivity and irritability towards coworkers, management, and work situations.<br></p></li><li><p> Constant signs of stress and anxiety.<br></p></li><li><p>Significant changes in social patterns with coworkers.<br></p></li><li><p>Sharp drop in quantity and timeliness of output.​<br></p></li></ul><p>When looking for signs of burnout, it’s important for a manager to have a high degree of familiarity with the employee in question, a familiarity which is a byproduct of a strong manager-staff relationship. </p><p>“You’ve got to know your people,” Davis-Laack says. “When someone seems more checked out and disengaged than usual, if you know your people well enough, you can spot it.” ​</p><h4>Treatment</h4><p>When it becomes clear that an employee is suffering from burnout, managers have several options for treatment and alleviation, experts say. Morales says he believes that managers must first come to an understanding of the underlying factors, so that they can be addressed.   </p><p>“If there is a workload issue, a manager may be able to spread out the workload with other workers to alleviate the issue,” he says. “It’s important to let the employees know that this is being done to gain more scale, and to reinforce that they are doing a good job.”</p><p>Indeed, crushing workloads are now common in many workplaces, experts say, as many companies are actively cost cutting while attempting to raise productivity and output. And for employees who work with data, such as security employees who use analytics, benchmarks, or some form of metrics, the information explosion is requiring more and more staff hours to keep up with the processing and analysis. Managers must be cognizant of this, Davis-Laack says. </p><p>“If you do nothing but pile work on people—well, people are not robots and they are not computers. They are going to wear out,” she explains.</p><p>To combat this, managers should employ a strategic and honest operations analysis, she advises. The department may be generating more output with increasing workloads, but burnout and turnover risk is also increasing, as is the likelihood of costly mistakes. Is it worth the risk? Hiring additional help or outsourcing some tasks may be cheaper in the long run than the costs due to turnover and errors. </p><p>When a department conducts a strategic review of operations, the focus is often on fixing glitches in process, experts say. A focus on reducing workload is less common, but when it is adopted, it often reveals that certain time-consuming tasks are unnecessary.</p><p>If the burnout is caused by a stressful job function, such as a security position in which the worker is protecting assets of great value, the manager can discuss the situation with the employee and ensure that support is available, Morales says. “This may help them feel less alone or helpless in situations,” he says.   </p><p>Another key strategy for managers is to add extra focus and energy to the resources part of the puzzle, Davis-Laack says. “Help them to build up their energy bank account, so they are not always feeling depleted.” </p><p>She offers five ways for managers to do so:  </p><ul><li><p> Maintain and ensure high-quality relationships between managers and staff members, and between team members themselves. This fosters a healthy and safe environment where problems can be discussed and addressed.  <br></p></li><li><p> Whenever possible, give team members some decision authority. This gives them a sense of autonomy and strength when dealing with issues, and helps avoid feelings of powerlessness. <br></p></li><li><p> Follow the FAST system of respectful feedback—give frequent, accurate, specific, and timely feedback. This helps employees make tweaks and adjustments, and lets them know they are on the right course.  <br></p></li><li><p> Demonstrate that you have the employees’ backs, and always be willing to go to bat for them. Don’t point fingers or complain to higher ups when mistakes are made. This is crucial in building trust.  <br></p></li><li><p> Identify and encourage skills that will help your team members build resilience. These will vary depending on the specific job and situation, but include any skill or resource that can be used when challenges arise, as well as those that help manage stress.  ​<br></p></li></ul><p>In working toward the previous point, managers may want to brainstorm with staff to find ways to make everyone more resourceful. For instance, managers could periodically check in with staff members to determine the team’s overall level of resources, so they can replenish them when they’re low.</p><p>Indeed, soliciting solutions from staff is an excellent practice for managers, because it shows they are partnering with employees, not parenting them, Wilson says. The parenting style of management assumes that the manager has knowledge that the worker will never have, and it sets up the employee for helplessness. The partnering style cultivates the employees’ decision-making skills, so they can skillfully meet their own needs. ​</p><h4>Touchy Subject</h4><p>Burnout can be a sensitive subject. Some workers attach great self-worth to their productivity and performance, and do not like to concede that they are struggling. </p><p>“It is very difficult for some high performers to admit that their engagement is lacking. There’s a sense of judgment associated with that,” Wilson says. </p><p>Some of these workers truly are burned out despite their failure to admit it, and they may be in a precarious state. “I have seen cases where the hardest and most productive workers will not admit to burnout,” Morales says. “In these situations, burnout occurs quite suddenly, without many of the behavioral warning signs.”</p><p>Other employees fear that admitting burnout is disclosing a weakness, one that could prevent them from future promotions or ultimately cost them their job. “They like their work and they don’t want to change jobs, or </p><p>they can’t change jobs because they have monetary obligations,” Davis-Laack says. </p><p>Here, management can go a long way by being proactive and soliciting feedback from workers regarding their state of mind. “It’s important to have regular discussions with employees about the impact of the workload on them personally, and give them every opportunity to talk through their situation, and vent if necessary,” Morales says. “It’s important for management to recognize the potential for burnout and approach employees proactively to discuss it. It provides employees a safe environment in which to talk through the situation.”</p><p>In these situations, a manager can approach an employee with a proactive goal—how can workload and workplace environment be shaped so that the employee is energized in the office, and still has energy left at the end of the day and on weekends for a life outside of work, Wilson explains.  </p><p>Using this framework, Wilson adds that it is often easier for the manager to then ask, “What’s getting in the way of that? Is it bureaucratic interference? Is there too much on your plate? Is there bullying going on, or other workplace environment problems?”  ​</p><h4>More Recognition</h4><p>But while burnout is still a sensitive subject among some workers, there is also a growing recognition that it is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with, experts say. This may be partly driven by recent research in fields like healthcare and finance, where findings suggest that burnout and overwork are causing costly mistakes that are detrimental to a company’s bottom line. </p><p>Moreover, more business leaders see that the problem, if left unchecked, will just get worse in the future, due to factors such as globalization and a web of technology that is becoming more and more complex. “The perfect storm is upon us,” Wilson says.</p><p>Davis-Laack says she is heartened by the fact that the burnout issue, which was frequently dismissed as too “soft” to be a subject at business conferences, is appearing on more agendas. </p><p>“It’s finally starting to get attention across different professions and different sectors,” she says. “Managers are taking it more seriously.” ​​</p>

 

 

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https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Lessons-in-Liability.aspxLessons in Liability<p>​Yvonne Hiller was not having a good day. On September 9, 2010, Hiller had a quarrel with her coworkers—Tanya Renee Wilson, LaTonya Brown, and Bryant Dalton—at the Kraft Foods plant in Northeast Philadelphia where she had worked for 15 years. At a union stewards and supervisors meeting that evening, a decision was made. She was suspended and had to vacate the facility immediately.</p><p>Kraft had contracted U.S. Security Associates, a private-sector firm, to provide security for the plant, and U.S. Security Site Supervisor Damon Harris was called to escort Hiller to her vehicle and ensure that she left the property.</p><p>However, Harris did not walk Hiller to her car. He left her at the guard booth at the security gate at the entrance to the plant and allowed Hiller to walk to her vehicle, alone. But Hiller did not drive away.</p><p>Instead, she retrieved a firearm from her car and drove back to the security gate where she pointed her gun at U.S. Security Officer Marc Bentley, who was inside the guard booth, and demanded to be allowed back into the plant.</p><p>When Bentley did not open the gate, Hiller drove through it. Bentley then paced back and forth inside the guard booth, while his supervisor—Harris—ran away. Both security officers called 911 after several minutes of panic and confusion, but they failed to alert anyone else in the plant that Hiller was inside, and that she was armed.</p><p>Hiller made her way through the plant to where the union meeting had taken place earlier that evening, opened fire, and shot Wilson, Brown, and Dalton. Wilson and Brown were killed, but Dalton survived the attack.</p><p>Local law enforcement responded to the scene, taking Hiller into custody. She was eventually convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. She is currently serving a life sentence in prison.</p><p>The estates of Wilson and Brown filed a civil suit against U.S. Security and Hiller in 2015, alleging that the security company was guilty of negligence for failing to protect the people at the plant during the shooting and for failing to warn employees that Hiller was in the plant, armed with a gun.</p><p>The First Judicial District Court of Pennsylvania agreed with them, granting the estates more than $46.5 million in damages—$8.02 million in compensatory damages and $38.5 million in punitive damages.</p><p>“The verdict is an important message to U.S. Security that their guards can’t simply run away in the middle of a crisis,” said Shanin Specter of Kline & Specter, P.C., which represented the Wilson and Brown families in the civil suit, in an interview with Philadelphia’s NBC local affiliate. U.S. Security did not return requests for comment on this article. </p><p>The case served as a lesson for the contract security industry that negligent behavior by officers can be a form of premises liability. Premises liability is a legal concept typically associated with personal injury cases where someone is injured by an unsafe or defective condition on someone else’s property. The classic example is a slip-and-fall case.</p><p>Kraft had contracted with U.S. Security and set forth the service agreement in written documents, outlining the security officers’ guide and post orders. </p><p>The service agreement explained that U.S. Security personnel would have administrative and operations experience in security services at a level adequate to the scope of work and would be “responsible for maintaining high standards of performance, personal appearance, and conduct,” according to court documents. </p><p>Personnel would be responsible for duties such as access control; escort services; incident reports; in-depth knowledge of facility-specific requirements, expectations, and emergency procedures; patrol service duties; alarm response; emergency and accident response; and security gate control.</p><p>The service agreement also outlined what was expected of security personnel in response to an emergency at the Kraft plant in Philadelphia. The nine-step procedure included remaining calm if the officer was witness to a threatening situation, contacting a Kraft representative immediately, calling 911 if the threat was immediate, being prepared to assist if the situation became confrontational, and noting all facts about the incident in the security log.</p><p>However, the U.S. Security officers on site that day did not follow the emergency response protocol or the service agreement to escort Hiller from the plant to her vehicle, which is why the jury sided with the plaintiffs, says Eddie Sorrells, CPP, PCI, PSP, chief operating officer and general counsel for DSI Security Services, a contract security provider based in Dothan, Alabama.</p><p>The jury initially said to U.S. Security “you failed in your responsibility contractually to make sure that this bad person got off the premises,” Sorrells explains. “You didn’t do your job. And then when the person came back and started making threats and ultimately shooting, you didn’t communicate it. You didn’t do your job to warn the people inside; you didn’t communicate there was an emergency or a shooter on the premises. All you did was call 911 and hide. And we’re going to say that wasn’t enough.”</p><p>This is why it is critical for contract security providers and their clients to draft and review policies related to security officer duties and emergency response.</p><p>“Any plans, procedures, and policies that you had in place are going to be front and center when a tragedy like the Kraft case happens—or even something far less tragic,” Sorrells says. </p><p>For contract security providers, the case illustrates the importance of reviewing background screening and training processes for security guards. One criticism in the U.S. Security case, according to court documents, was that Bentley—a relatively new security officer—was not adequately trained to know how to use the available technology to communicate that Hiller had reentered the plant with a gun.</p><p>“One of the most important lessons learned from this case is how critical training is for the security officer,” Sorrells explains. “That’s not a suggestion that U.S. Security didn’t have that; it just reinforces the need to have real policies and procedures that can be…exercised and trained on.”</p><p>The case also shines a light on another security risk that can sometimes be overlooked by contract security: high-risk terminations. While Hiller was suspended from Kraft—not fired—the same principles apply, and contract security providers should make sure that their clients know the warning signs for an individual who might be a high-risk termination and require a security escort from the facility.</p><p>The client hiring a contract security firm also has a responsibility to make sure the firm has the background, resources, and knowledge to advise them on best security practices.</p><p>“I’m fond of saying that corporations are not hiring a staffing agency; they’re hopefully hiring security experts who can come in and advise them on what is needed in terms of emergency communications, training, and internal education for your employees,” Sorrells adds. </p><p>“We have to make sure that training is there to hopefully prevent these things from happening; and even if all those efforts fail, once someone does show up with a weapon, we need to have procedures in place to make sure emergency notifications are sent out,” Sorrells says. ​</p><h4>Insider Threats</h4><p>Around 10:09 a.m. on September 8, 2013, Yale University doctoral student Annie Le swiped her security card and entered the research lab on Yale’s campus where she conducted experiments into enzymes that could have implications for cancer, diabetes, and muscular dystrophy treatments. </p><p>Later that day, a fire alarm went off in the lab, requiring everyone to evacuate the facility. But Le did not leave. And Yale University did not search the building to locate her. Eventually, when Le did not come home that night, her roommate called the authorities at Yale to report her missing.</p><p>However, authorities did not begin looking for Le until the following morning. They would not find her until five days later—on the day she was scheduled to be married—when they discovered her body stuffed into a wall in the basement of the lab facility.</p><p>Authorities would later determine that fellow laboratory technician Raymond J. Clark III had brutally assaulted and strangled Le on Sep­tember 8. He pleaded guilty to her murder and is currently serving a 44-year prison sentence.</p><p>Following his sentencing, Le’s family filed suit against Yale, alleging that it was negligent and failed to use reasonable care by hiring Clark for a position that allowed him unsupervised access to students and staff; by retaining Clark in that position; by failing to adequately supervise and monitor Clark’s activities; and by permitting Clark to work alone in remote areas of the building with Le and others.</p><p>The family also claimed that Yale was negligent for failing to inform and warn Le about the potential threat Clark posed; failing to take “reasonable steps” to provide a safe and secure environment for Le to work at the facility; failing to maintain a properly qualified and trained security staff at the lab; failing to respond to a fire alarm that sounded the same day Le was murdered; fostering an atmosphere of tolerance of sexual harassment and sexual assaults that emboldened Clark; failing to investigate Le’s unexplained disappearance; and failing to detect, prevent, or intervene in Clark’s attack and murder of Le.  </p><p>Yale denied the allegations, ABC News reported. “Yale had no information indicating that Raymond Clark was capable of committing this terrible crime, and no reasonable security measures could have prevented his unforeseeable act,” the university said. Yale later agreed to pay the Le family $3 million to settle the suit in 2016, according to the Associated Press.</p><p>Paul Slager, a lawyer for Le’s family and a partner at Silver Golub & Teitell LLP, declined to comment on the settlement but did say that the case was part of a broader trend he’s seen in negligent security cases. </p><p>“Ten years ago when people talked about negligent security it was ‘How do you keep unauthorized intruders out?’” he explains. “As a lawyer, the issues have shifted now that there has to be recognition by security professionals that just keeping intruders out doesn’t mean you’re maintaining a safe and secure environment.”</p><p>For instance, the security precautions that Yale had taken—installing security cameras and using a card access control system—were designed to keep unauthorized individuals from entering the laboratory that Le worked in. However, they were not designed </p><p>to address insider threats from those who had authorized access to the facility.</p><p>Now, there is a greater acknowledgment that sometimes the threat to employees and students is an insider threat, and there may be other ways to prevent those crimes or acts of workplace violence from taking place, Slager explains.</p><p>“Workplace violence is such a big issue, and this case had layers of workplace violence to it,” he says. “These people (Le and Clark) knew each other really well.”</p><p>One security method Slager says he’s seen more of recently is the rise in portable personal protective devices, which are designed to be carried by individuals and allow them to request help immediately.</p><p>For instance, the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut began giving all new students National Protective Systems’ Personal Alarm Locators (PALs) in 2003. When pressed, the device can pinpoint a student’s location on campus and alert campus security. </p><p>“The PAL system is only used on the main campus of the university. Your picture and location will automatically appear on two screens at the security office,” according to the university’s 2016 Annual Security and Fire Report. “Security will then respond to the location of your PAL, even if it is in motion.”</p><p>The device also provides critical health information about students in the event of an emergency. The university won the Jeanne Clery Campus Safety Award in 2003 for its use of the technology to improve campus safety.</p><p>The devices have been effective at deterring crimes, and in one instance prevented a crime when there was a conflict between a man and a woman on campus, Slager says. </p><p>Because of this, Slager explains that he argued in the Le family’s suit against Yale that giving this type of personal protective device to students and employees would have been an effective way to deter or interrupt the assault on Le, which killed her.</p><p>Le worked in an isolated part of the lab facility and Yale “didn’t offer sufficient protections from coworkers or people who had proper authority to be there,” Slager says. </p><p>Because Yale and the Le family settled their suit, no damages were awarded. But in the U.S. Security Services case, the damages the jury awarded the plaintiffs were significant. 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https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Running-on-Empty.aspxRunning on Empty<p>​In this age of overload, with organizations trying to do more with less, employees buried in information, and devices that call for round-the-clock urgency, burnout is a malady ripe for our times. Burnout can strike even the most productive workers and the most consistent performers, as well as those who seem to have the greatest capacity for hard work, experts say. </p><p>One reason burnout is such a pernicious problem is that it does not have to be total for its effects to be devastating.</p><p>“Burnout tends to plateau rather than peak,” says Paula Davis-Laack, specialist in burnout prevention programs, founder and CEO of the Stress and Resilience Institute, and author of Addicted To Busy: Your Blueprint for Burnout Prevention. “Burnout exists on a continuum. You don’t have to be completely mentally broken down and barely able to get out of bed to feel major effects.”</p><p>In other words, employees suffering mid-level burnout may still be able to power through and complete an adequate amount of work by sheer force of will, but their partially depleted state greatly hinders their performance and productivity, and it keeps them from realizing their full potential. </p><p>“That can go on for months, or even years, depending on the person’s work ethic,” says management expert Brady Wilson, cofounder of Juice Inc. and author of Beyond Engagement and other business performance books. </p><p>In a field like security, workers can be especially vulnerable to burnout, given the continual pressure and stress that go into protecting people and assets, and the high stakes involved if a breach does occur. </p><p>“Constant job pressure, especially when some of the factors are out of your control like they are with security, is definitely one of the causes of burnout in employees,” says Carlos Morales, vice president of global sales, engineering, and operations at Arbor Networks, which specializes in network security. </p><p>The consequences of burnout are varied; in some cases, they involve serious health issues. Davis-Laack, who became a specialist in the field after burning out as a practicing attorney, says she experienced weekly panic attacks and a few stomachaches that were so painful they sent her to the emergency room. Coronary disease, depression, and alcohol abuse are other possible consequences. </p><p>For the employer, burnout can significantly compromise workplace quality, causing more absenteeism, turnover, accident risk, and cynicism, while lowering morale and commitment and reducing willingness among workers to help others.</p><p>Fortunately, in many cases burnout can either be avoided, with deft management and a supportive organization, or significantly alleviated using various strategic methods. But like most maladies, it must be understood before it can be properly addressed. ​</p><h4>Symptoms and Conditions</h4><p>Burnout occurs when the demands people face on the job outstrip the resources they possess to meet them. Psychologists who study burnout as a condition divide it into it three dimensions: exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment.</p><p>When the first aspect—exhaustion—hits, the employee may feel emotionally, physically, and cognitively depleted. This often spurs feelings of diminished powers; challenges that were formerly manageable can seem insurmountable. As Davis-Laack describes her own experience of this condition: “Every curveball seems like a crisis.”</p><p>When depersonalization occurs, an employee may start to feel alienated from his or her own job, and more cynical and resentful toward the organization. Work and its mission lose meaning; feelings of going-through-the-motions increase. Detached and numb, the employee tries to plow ahead. </p><p>Exhaustion and depersonalization often combine to produce the third component of reduced personal accomplishment. As Wilson explains, the depleted employee possesses considerably less “executive function,” or the ability to focus, self-regulate, connect the dots between ideas, strategize, analyze, execute smoothly, and follow through—all of which can be thought of as “the power tools of innovation.” </p><p>“Nuanced thinking and value-added thinking are the first to go when employees are exhausted,” he says. “Instead, they rely on duct-tape fixes, reactivity, firefighting. They don’t get to the root causes of problems and issues.” </p><p>The state of mind that burnout can elicit sometimes leads to self-blame, where the employee feels that he or she is professionally inadequate. But that is unfair, says Davis-Laack: “I don’t want individual workers to feel that it’s all their fault.” </p><p>The root causes of burnout, she explains, are usually a product of what employees bring to the table—work ethic, how closely they tie work to self-worth, their level of perfectionism—and how the organization itself functions, which can be an important factor. </p><p>Understanding key organizational conditions, experts say, will help managers maintain a culture that protects employees from burning out. One of these conditions involves what the organization chooses to reward. </p><p>Wilson explains this as follows. For many years, many organizations stressed the importance of keeping employees engaged. But the definition of engagement has shifted, so that many firms now define engaged workers as those with clear dedication and commitment, who come to work early and stay late. “What’s missing from this definition is passion, enthusiasm, verve, and spirit,” he says. </p><p>When engagement is so defined, increased effort, such as working more hours and taking on more projects, is rewarded. But simply increasing hours at the office does not produce high performance, Wilson says. </p><p>“We get our epiphanies in the shower—we don’t get them when we are determined and gritting our teeth around a board room table. It’s not effort that produces brilliance, it’s energy,” he explains. But sometimes, the more-rewards-for-more-work philosophy can function as an unintentional incentive to burn out.</p><p>The organization’s day-to-day working conditions are also a crucial here. Research has found that two factors can be deadly in sapping an employee’s resources, according to Davis-Laack. </p><p>One is role conflict and ambiguity, which can occur when employees are never clear on exactly what is expected of them, and on what part they should be playing in active projects. “That’s very wearing on people,” she says. </p><p>Another is unfairness, which is often related to office politics. This can include favoritism, failure to recognize contributions, being undermined, or dealing with the demands of never-satisfied supervisors.</p><p>Such stressful conditions push some employees into “gas guzzling” energy mode, because they require so much emotional effort just to cope with them, Wilson says. </p><p>“Substances generated by stress, such as cortisol and adrenaline, have a beautiful utilitarian use—to get us out of trouble, to keep us safe,” he explains. “But we are not as productive when we have a brain that is bathed in those things day in and day out.”  ​</p><h4>Detection</h4><p>Although it is vital for managers to strive to maintain a positive office culture, it’s also important to recognize that burnout can happen even in the healthiest of environments. Given this, Morales encourages attempts at early detection.  </p><p>“As a manager or executive, it is important to first note the factors that tend to cause burnout even before employees begin to show signs,” he says. “This gives you the opportunity to address issues proactively with employees.” </p><p>These factors, he explains, include a very travel-heavy schedule (50 percent or more of total work time); consistently logging work weeks of 60-plus hours; unrelenting expectations of working off-hours and on weekends; and constant deadline time pressure. </p><p>But since early detection is not always successful or even possible in some cases, managers should also be looking for common signs of burnout that their employees might be exhibiting. Morales advises security managers to look for combinations of the following characteristics that are different from usual behaviors:</p><ul><li><p> General lack of energy and enthusiasm around job functions and projects.<br></p></li><li><p> Extreme sensitivity and irritability towards coworkers, management, and work situations.<br></p></li><li><p> Constant signs of stress and anxiety.<br></p></li><li><p>Significant changes in social patterns with coworkers.<br></p></li><li><p>Sharp drop in quantity and timeliness of output.​<br></p></li></ul><p>When looking for signs of burnout, it’s important for a manager to have a high degree of familiarity with the employee in question, a familiarity which is a byproduct of a strong manager-staff relationship. </p><p>“You’ve got to know your people,” Davis-Laack says. “When someone seems more checked out and disengaged than usual, if you know your people well enough, you can spot it.” ​</p><h4>Treatment</h4><p>When it becomes clear that an employee is suffering from burnout, managers have several options for treatment and alleviation, experts say. Morales says he believes that managers must first come to an understanding of the underlying factors, so that they can be addressed.   </p><p>“If there is a workload issue, a manager may be able to spread out the workload with other workers to alleviate the issue,” he says. “It’s important to let the employees know that this is being done to gain more scale, and to reinforce that they are doing a good job.”</p><p>Indeed, crushing workloads are now common in many workplaces, experts say, as many companies are actively cost cutting while attempting to raise productivity and output. And for employees who work with data, such as security employees who use analytics, benchmarks, or some form of metrics, the information explosion is requiring more and more staff hours to keep up with the processing and analysis. Managers must be cognizant of this, Davis-Laack says. </p><p>“If you do nothing but pile work on people—well, people are not robots and they are not computers. They are going to wear out,” she explains.</p><p>To combat this, managers should employ a strategic and honest operations analysis, she advises. The department may be generating more output with increasing workloads, but burnout and turnover risk is also increasing, as is the likelihood of costly mistakes. Is it worth the risk? Hiring additional help or outsourcing some tasks may be cheaper in the long run than the costs due to turnover and errors. </p><p>When a department conducts a strategic review of operations, the focus is often on fixing glitches in process, experts say. A focus on reducing workload is less common, but when it is adopted, it often reveals that certain time-consuming tasks are unnecessary.</p><p>If the burnout is caused by a stressful job function, such as a security position in which the worker is protecting assets of great value, the manager can discuss the situation with the employee and ensure that support is available, Morales says. “This may help them feel less alone or helpless in situations,” he says.   </p><p>Another key strategy for managers is to add extra focus and energy to the resources part of the puzzle, Davis-Laack says. “Help them to build up their energy bank account, so they are not always feeling depleted.” </p><p>She offers five ways for managers to do so:  </p><ul><li><p> Maintain and ensure high-quality relationships between managers and staff members, and between team members themselves. This fosters a healthy and safe environment where problems can be discussed and addressed.  <br></p></li><li><p> Whenever possible, give team members some decision authority. This gives them a sense of autonomy and strength when dealing with issues, and helps avoid feelings of powerlessness. <br></p></li><li><p> Follow the FAST system of respectful feedback—give frequent, accurate, specific, and timely feedback. This helps employees make tweaks and adjustments, and lets them know they are on the right course.  <br></p></li><li><p> Demonstrate that you have the employees’ backs, and always be willing to go to bat for them. Don’t point fingers or complain to higher ups when mistakes are made. This is crucial in building trust.  <br></p></li><li><p> Identify and encourage skills that will help your team members build resilience. These will vary depending on the specific job and situation, but include any skill or resource that can be used when challenges arise, as well as those that help manage stress.  ​<br></p></li></ul><p>In working toward the previous point, managers may want to brainstorm with staff to find ways to make everyone more resourceful. For instance, managers could periodically check in with staff members to determine the team’s overall level of resources, so they can replenish them when they’re low.</p><p>Indeed, soliciting solutions from staff is an excellent practice for managers, because it shows they are partnering with employees, not parenting them, Wilson says. The parenting style of management assumes that the manager has knowledge that the worker will never have, and it sets up the employee for helplessness. The partnering style cultivates the employees’ decision-making skills, so they can skillfully meet their own needs. ​</p><h4>Touchy Subject</h4><p>Burnout can be a sensitive subject. Some workers attach great self-worth to their productivity and performance, and do not like to concede that they are struggling. </p><p>“It is very difficult for some high performers to admit that their engagement is lacking. There’s a sense of judgment associated with that,” Wilson says. </p><p>Some of these workers truly are burned out despite their failure to admit it, and they may be in a precarious state. “I have seen cases where the hardest and most productive workers will not admit to burnout,” Morales says. “In these situations, burnout occurs quite suddenly, without many of the behavioral warning signs.”</p><p>Other employees fear that admitting burnout is disclosing a weakness, one that could prevent them from future promotions or ultimately cost them their job. “They like their work and they don’t want to change jobs, or </p><p>they can’t change jobs because they have monetary obligations,” Davis-Laack says. </p><p>Here, management can go a long way by being proactive and soliciting feedback from workers regarding their state of mind. “It’s important to have regular discussions with employees about the impact of the workload on them personally, and give them every opportunity to talk through their situation, and vent if necessary,” Morales says. “It’s important for management to recognize the potential for burnout and approach employees proactively to discuss it. It provides employees a safe environment in which to talk through the situation.”</p><p>In these situations, a manager can approach an employee with a proactive goal—how can workload and workplace environment be shaped so that the employee is energized in the office, and still has energy left at the end of the day and on weekends for a life outside of work, Wilson explains.  </p><p>Using this framework, Wilson adds that it is often easier for the manager to then ask, “What’s getting in the way of that? Is it bureaucratic interference? Is there too much on your plate? Is there bullying going on, or other workplace environment problems?”  ​</p><h4>More Recognition</h4><p>But while burnout is still a sensitive subject among some workers, there is also a growing recognition that it is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with, experts say. This may be partly driven by recent research in fields like healthcare and finance, where findings suggest that burnout and overwork are causing costly mistakes that are detrimental to a company’s bottom line. </p><p>Moreover, more business leaders see that the problem, if left unchecked, will just get worse in the future, due to factors such as globalization and a web of technology that is becoming more and more complex. “The perfect storm is upon us,” Wilson says.</p><p>Davis-Laack says she is heartened by the fact that the burnout issue, which was frequently dismissed as too “soft” to be a subject at business conferences, is appearing on more agendas. </p><p>“It’s finally starting to get attention across different professions and different sectors,” she says. “Managers are taking it more seriously.” ​​</p>GP0|#28ae3eb9-d865-484b-ac9f-3dfacb4ce997;L0|#028ae3eb9-d865-484b-ac9f-3dfacb4ce997|Strategic Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Five-Post-Incident-Concerns.aspxFive Post-Incident Concerns<p>​<span style="line-height:1.5em;">On June 12, 2016, a gunman shot 102 people in an Orlando, Florida, nightclub, killing 49. Agencies, both government and private, must be prepared to recover from such major incidents. Following are five issues that should be considered when crafting post-incident plans.</span></p><p><strong>1. COUNSELING.</strong> Identify a list of counselors for the living victims, family members of the deceased, and other persons who were directly or indirectly involved with the incident. This includes first responders. (In this case, where the gay community was targeted, special emphasis was placed on their needs.) Counselors can include certified therapy animals and their trained handlers. Providing privacy and personal time for the families and friends of the victims in their time of grief is crucial. It is also important to shield those who ask for privacy from the media.  </p><p><strong>2. BUSINESSES. </strong>Access must be granted to the area surrounding the incident so that local businesses can resume operation as soon as possible. The crime scene should be processed in a timely manner to allow the community to return to a feeling of normalcy and business as usual.</p><p><strong>3. COMMUNITY AWARENESS.</strong> The use of the friendly and concerned media can help keep the community informed and involved. Holding frequent press conferences and meetings with the community and its leaders conveys that agencies plan to be open about the incident and the follow-up.</p><p><strong> 4. DEBRIEFING.</strong> Ensure that all victims, witnesses, and responders are fully interviewed in a humane and caring way. This will assist the lead agency in trying to reconstruct the incident and come to a fuller understanding of its causes and outcomes.</p><p><strong>5. PLANNING.</strong> Continue to work within the community to plan for possible future incidents, identify possible soft targets, educate the public on the appropriate response to such an attack, work with the public on developing strategic response plans, and communicate openly with all involved.</p><p>--<br></p><p><em><strong>H.R. "Hank" Nolin, CPP,</strong> is a retired U.S. Army Master Sergeant who has owned various security agencies in Central Florida. He is an active member of the ASIS Military Liaison Council.</em></p>GP0|#28ae3eb9-d865-484b-ac9f-3dfacb4ce997;L0|#028ae3eb9-d865-484b-ac9f-3dfacb4ce997|Strategic Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465