Keeping security talent on the job

AlliedBarton's learning and development guru Rich Cordivari shares his company's strategy for keeping security professionals engaged and happy in a high turnover industry

What about course content? Has the content of the training changed in recent years?

Course content is always being updated to reflect anything new in the industry. For instance, in order to get and keep a safety certification from the US Department of Homeland Security. DHS prescribes a very particular course of study that has high standards. We had to incorporate those standards at a formalized level, even though we already had eight terrorism and emergency response programs. We had to actually repackage them so that they met DHS standard. That allows us raise our game a bit. We are proud not only that we did it, but also that through a recent audit we could prove every single employee was compliant with what DHS requires.

Have you made any changes to content that addresses the way people learn?

The best example that I can give is KnowledgeKnuggets, which is a series of MP3 pieces designed to encourage and reinforce learning. The feedback has been terrific with more than 2,500 downloads in the first six months of introduction. In addition to that, we have made more of our courses shorter so that manuals and guides are more easily digestible and broken out by topic, etc.

What specific areas or accounts have needed more changes or attention recently?

Our port accounts, our petroleum and chemical accounts. Those are probably the most dynamic part of industry right now, in addition to college campuses. Anyone who has read a newspaper in the last ten years knows the need for training and retraining security professionals in a college or university setting.

What other new initiatives are in place now when it comes to development and training?

Another thing we are doing is making sure our delivery methods are significant. Our new learning management system makes training as on-demand as possible. We know folks want information when they want it and should not have to wait for me to hold a class to get it. So we are in process of turning all of our current courseware into self-paced, self- run, on-demand, online format. It encourages learning and gives you what you need, when you need it.

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