Do you ever wonder about the invisible people in your organisation? They’re not actually invisible but if you spoke to them, they would probably tell you they felt invisible. Who are these invisible people? They’re the ones that are in your organization, part of your extended team, whose name you don’t know and whom many feel don’t really contribute. These invisible people come generally in two uniforms. They are your security and your cleaning staff.
Most organisations do not show a whole lot of respect for the people in these positions. They don’t talk to these people, they don’t include them and generally ignore them but for the occasional smile as they pass in the corridor. They see and often treat them like they are somehow less than the rest of the employees and contractors. This is reflected in their wages as well. Time and time again as Independent Security Consultants we see these invisible people being paid the minimum wage. In fact, I have seen security guards getting paid well below the minimum wage.
Now some executives see cleaners and security as a line item in the expense account. The lower this “cost” the better the profit margin will be. But this is not just ethically questionable (in the case of paying wages below the minimum wage) but rather completely ignorant and devoid of an appropriate risk mitigation mindset. Whilst these people are invisible to the other members of your organisation they are centre stage for external actors that seek to gain access and knowledge from inside.
The truth is we often give the greatest access to our offices to those with the least supervision, the least pay, and the least reason to be loyal to their peers and employers. Imagine working for an organisation that pays you poorly and to whom you feel no loyalty. How likely are you to turn down a sizeable sum of money to look the other way, leave a door unlocked, or hide a small device in the boardroom.
The fact is there have been and will continue to be far too many instances of people in these positions providing access or decreasing the difficulty for external threats to gain access to the organisation. Yet we continue to see people in these positions being paid poorly and excluded from the community within the organisation. If you want to ensure you’re enterprise isn’t the next statistic, get to know your security and cleaning staff, talk to them like you would any other colleague and conduct your due diligence on their level of pay. Consider increasing their pay or award them a yearly bonus. It could be the greatest investment you make in mitigating security risks for your organisation.