Reducing Employee Turnover with an Electronic Evaluation System

Performance evaluation formWith budget cuts and staff shortfalls, many law enforcement agencies are struggling to keep good people. Every employee that quits the profession results in a new candidate that must be recruited, trained, and vetted. This is a time-consuming and expensive process. One strategy to help alleviate this employee turnover problem is moving from a paper-based evaluation process to an electronic performance appraisal system. Electronic evaluation tools not only save time and money, thus also help reduce employee turnover by providing a better vetting process of new hires. An electronic evaluation tool helps weed out candidates not up to the task early on in the process. Additionally, an electronic evaluation tool provides tracking and charting of employee behaviors based on established criteria that enable management to identify problems and remediate them with a training solution.

The rate of employee turnover within the law enforcement profession provides evidence that a better pre-emptive evaluation process is needed to adequately determine if recruits are cut out for the job before they complete their training program. The turnover rate is estimated at 14% with an average tenure of 33 months for new officers. When one considers how long it takes to train these employees, it becomes apparent that turnover is a critical budgetary issue. Adequate evaluation would save the law enforcement agency money by eliminating those not suited for the profession early on in the training process.

Performance evaluation formMost law enforcement agencies will require new recruits to undergo a training and evaluation program varying in time from six months to a full year. During this time frame, a field training officer (FTO) is assigned to the recruit so as to evaluate their performance on the job. The FTO has received training in how to implement the department’s training process. The FTO conducts daily observation reports (DOR) of the trainee using common evaluation methods. Evaluations must be consistent, objective, and administered in a fair manner to provide adequate assessment of a training candidate. The evaluation must review the judgment used by the trainee and the skills, knowledge, and competency demonstrated in performing the job-related duties. The criteria used to evaluate trainees are based on a Job Task Analysis. The job task analysis is the process of obtaining information about a job and its requirements, in order to determine the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are required to satisfactory perform the job in question. This job task analysis creates the performance objectives and criteria sets within the training program. The Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) has created standard criteria sets for field training officers. Electronic evaluation software is available with the standard APCO criteria sets already built in.

A standard evaluation methodology used by law enforcement is the San Jose Model. The San Jose model, created by the San Jose Police Department in the 1970s, categorizes behavioral traits deemed necessary for a patrol officer to perform their job successfully. These behavioral traits are rated on a numerical sliding scale from 1-7, thus enabling the FTO to identify acceptable and unacceptable behavior in a recruit. The DOR is scored at the end of each shift, using the sliding scale, and it is reviewed by a supervisor throughout the training program. Many electronic evaluation tools use the San Jose model along with the standard criteria sets to provide an established credible means of performance appraisal.

A good training program is controlled through a consistent process for quality assurance. Regardless of which evaluation model an agency uses, the effectiveness of the training program hinges on comprehensive documentation and program review. Most agencies are required to provide field-training documentation as part of an employee’s records when reporting to their state training standards organizations. Additionally, documentation during the training program ensures that the trainee was provided all of the necessary instruction to perform their job adequately. A critically important fact is that documentation helps to shield a dispatch agency from civil suits. Training records will be kept for the dispatcher’s entire career and can be referenced at any time in the future. Therefore, a good DOR program should provide electronic documentation that can quickly access records, standardize forms, generate reports, easily share documentation, and review trends.

A good evaluation process not only takes a snap shot of employee performance, it also allows management to compare current skills. This helps in the development of a training plan to improve skill sets through continuing education. Evaluations are also a form of positive recognition of good behaviors and work habits. This process provides greater job satisfaction and improved morale, which in turn improves employee retention because employees are more productive and happier with continuous feedback.

An electronic evaluation tool provides management with a 360 degree feedback tool, so that not only are the trainees being evaluated, but the trainers, are as well. This ability to provide a comprehensive feedback mechanism allows management to determine if problems are occurring from the student, the instructor, or the actual training program. Adjustments to the training program can then be made to optimize results.

An evaluation software tool should be fully configurable with criteria sets and standard operating procedures of the specific agency. Additionally, the software should provide a custom reporting capability or have the ability to export data into another software program for reporting, graphing, and charting results.

If your evaluation process is paper-based and filed away in a cabinet somewhere, it is difficult to provide comprehensive feedback and appraisal of your new hires. An electronic evaluation tool is a cost effective solution to pre-emptively assess candidates and their capabilities to perform. Such a tool will save you time and money during the training process, and it will more efficiently store and retrieve documentation.

Posted in Uncategorized at August 7th, 2013. .

Vulnerability Checklist

venn diagram defenition of risk

A vulnerability check list provides a simple process for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of an organization’s security program.  The check list walks the user through the building and site, as well as evaluates the existence of certain policies and procedures.  Each item on the checklist will require documentation to determine where vulnerabilities exist.  For example, if an evaluation of the site lighting reveals burned out bulbs, then a note regarding this vulnerability should be documented.  The vulnerability check list must be evaluated in context of a larger risk and threat assessment conducted by the risk management team.  The types of threats facing an organization and the level of risk for each threat will determine how vulnerable a structure is.  If there have been numerous assaults in the local area, then a burned out street lamp is more problematic.  The following is an example of a vulnerability checklist:

  • Site Perimeter
    • Fencing
    • Lighting (site perimeter)
    • Parking
    • Traffic flow
    • Landscaping
    • Unoccupied structures
    • Camera system (site perimeter)
  • Building Perimeter
    • Lighting
    • Architectural design/Envelope
    • Windows
    • Exterior doors
    • Landscaping
    • Utilities
    • Roof
  • Building Interior
    • Interior Doors
    • Interior Lighting
    • Utility Systems (plumbing, gas, water)
    • Mechanical Systems
    • Electrical Systems
    • Access Control
    • Camera System
    • Alarm System
    • Communications/IT Systems
  • Miscellaneous Information
    • Visitors policy
    • Cash handling
    • Key control
    • Security guards
    • Security education
    • Security Policy/Procedures

A more detailed building vulnerability check list can be found in “Primer for Design Safe Schools Projects in Case of Terrorist Attacks” (FEMA 428) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website.

 

Posted in Physical Security, Security, Uncategorized at July 16th, 2013. .

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