Post-Work Debriefing

The bar has been cleared, the tables put away, the equipment stowed. Time to go home, right?

Not so fast…

Regardless of how tired you are, there is one item of business that should be taken care of: The Post-Work Debriefing. This is an important part of the night from both a personal and professional standpoint. On a personal level, you want to make sure that you and your Security Staff are doing well. On a professional level, you want to make sure that your Security Staffers are happy. How do find out if they are doing well and are happy? Ask.

The Head of Security should always run the Post-Work Debrief. This way, all information is relayed directly, not second or third hand. It is not absolutely necessary for the Manager to be involved, as he/she should be meeting with the H.O.S. after the Post-work Debrief anyway.

TOPICS OF DISCUSSION:

  • EQUIPMENT – Anything broken, faulty, or gone missing? This is the time to report the problem and take note. Too often broken radios are placed back into their chargers without any notification. Need batteries/stanchions/clickers? Speak up!
  • INCIDENTS – Though ALL incidents should be reported as they occur, minor incidents (doors left open, Staff disputes, Law Enforcement chats) are often forgotten UNLESS you talk about them the same night. Make sure to ask your crew if they had any incidents and talk about them. If necessary, incident reports can be written up at this time. On numerous occasions I have asked how the night went and been deluged by incidents that no one had bothered to mention.
  • PERFORMANCE CONCERNS – The Head of Security should use some of this time to point out any issues or concerns regarding the Staff in general. Are people moving from their posts without notification? Incorrect Radio protocol? Bring it up and hash it out.
  • UPCOMING EVENTS – Remind the crew of any and all upcoming events, whether the next night, next week, or next month. It helps to plant a seed in their head and preps them for what is to come. No one likes to show up to work and be surprised with the news that the club is booked for a group of MMA fighters with an open bar, a fraternity social, or ten tables of bachelorette parties.
  • STAFFING ISSUES – If the Security Staff is having problems with non-Security Staff employees, this is the time to air those grievances. Having problems with the Promoter? Bartenders allowing their friends to stay after Last Call? Talk about it. An informed H.O.S. can pass this information on to the Manager. THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO GRIPE ABOUT OTHER MEMBERS OF YOUR SECURITY STAFF. Any intra-Security Staff concerns should be voiced directly to the H.O.S. separate from other workers.

These meetings serve as a good outlet for your Security Staff. They bring issues to light and often elicit remarks or suggestions that might not normally be conveyed. It generates conversation and communication, two things that are key to running a tight ship. The more you and your co-workers talk about the work environment and its issues, the better the chances that these issues will be taken care of in a prompt manner.

Until next time…

The Bat Cave…or the Security Equipment Room

The Coat Check. The Box Office. The Manager’s Office. The Liquor Cage.

Chances are  you know where each of these locations are in your place of work. But how many of you know where the Security Equipment Room is in your Bar/Nightclub? Chances are you have no idea where it is…because it may not even exist. Many Bars/Nightclubs/Restaurants give their Security Staff a box, or a shelf, or maybe a locker or two in which to store their equipment. In reality, it is just as important for the Security Staff to have an Equipment Room as it is for the Manager to have an office. An Equipment Room is at its bare minimum just that: an Equipment Room.

A separate room will give your Head of Security/Manager a place to hold meetings or have conversations where it is quiet and private. Any disciplinary measures or questions from Staff can be addressed away from the paying Patrons and any and all paperwork can be worked on away from the noise of the crowd. And honestly, it is nice for your Security Staff to be able to take a break from the craziness outside that doesn’t involve walking down the street to the coffee shop or sitting at the back of the Bar!

In a perfect world, your Equipment Room would contain a clock, a phone/fax, a computer (linked in to your CCTV system, scheduling, and payroll software), a filing cabinet for paperwork, a few lockers (possibly a coat rack), storage bins or shelves, and plenty of space for 2-3 individuals to prep for their shift. But we don’t live in a perfect world, so a good starting point would be some shelves and a coat rack.

Your team’s gear should also be held in this room:

  • Radios, earpieces, and chargers – Plugged in and ready to go…ALWAYS. And please don’t forget extra batteries and earpieces.
  • Flashlights – It still amazes me how many Security Staffers work without flashlights and how many establishments don’t have enough flashlights for their Staff. Again, extra batteries are never a bad idea.
  • Paperwork and logs – Checklists, Nightly Reports, Incident Reports, Applications, Disciplinary forms. All should be kept in this room. All relevant Personnel Paperwork may be kept in the Manager’s office, but it is fine to keep it here IF it is in a locked, secure cabinet!
  • First Aid Kit – There should be several in your establishment, but a large kit in this room.
  • Office supplies – Pens, paper, pencils, stapler, tape, etc. You never know when you need to whip up a sign or grab an extra pen.
  • I.D. Checking Guides and other relevant books
  • Box of Ear Plugs/Box of Latex Gloves – For safety and hygiene.
  • Spare clothing – 2-3 extra sport coats, t-shirts, or whatever your Staff need to wear for a shift. Staff may need to change out of their original clothing for any number of reasons! And there should always be extra clothing for them to wear.

There are a ton of other items that could go on the list, but these basics will get you pretty far. Your Equipment Room need not be The Bat Cave, but a Security Staff needs its own space to be able to do things without getting in the way. Keys for entry to the Equipment Room should be limited to H.O.S. and Manager for safety’s sake and remember to always lock the door when you leave.

Keep your Staff happy, and they will keep your Establishment and its Patrons safe.

Until next time….

Looking for work?

Recently, I’ve received a lot emails about employment. A good number of our readers have asked, “What is the best way to get a job in Nightclub Security?” While there is no guaranteed path, there are a few things that one should take into consideration when trying to track the elusive Security Staff gig.

ARE YOU LEGAL?

No, no, no. I don’t mean are you legally allowed to work in the United States. I mean are you legally allowed to work in a bar? Many people are under the impression that working Security in a bar or nightclub is as easy as walking up to the door filling out an application and showing up on a weekend night. Until very recently this would be the case, no questions asked. However, there have been a major change in many States in regards to who can work and under what title. Legislation has been passed in many jurisdictions making it a requirement for anyone working in Security to be licensed and trained. Why? Well, to make sure that you have at least an idea of what you are hired to do and to run you through a background check to make sure you are who you say you are.

The first thing you should do when considering a move into any area of physical Security (meaning working the front lines and interacting with the public) is making sure that you have all of the licensing/certifications/papers necessary to do the work. Every state varies and as such you need to take the time to research your State’s licensing requirements and find out what is best for you. A Google Search under ‘Guard Card’ or ‘Guard Card Requirements (insert your State name)’ should give you a good starting point.

This first step is the most important, as many establishments WILL NOT HIRE YOU without a Guard Card or its equivalent.

ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?

The big Catch 22 strikes hard in Security. Can’t get Security work without experience, can’t get experience without working in Security. Any job offer for Security, regardless of position is one you should take! Watch the bathroom? I’d love to! Clean vomit off the Party Bus? Absolutely! When looking for jobs, take what you can get. When looking for jobs, take what you can get. When looking for jobs, take what you can get. When looking for jobs, take what you can get.

Get it?

HAVE A RESUME?

Yes, believe it or not, a resume can be helpful in the Nightclub World! I won’t go into details as to how to write a resume, but keep these things in mind:

Don’t lie about where you’ve worked – Most cities that have a thriving Nightclub scene also have a network of connections within the scene. That means that if you say you worked at X Club but did not, you’ll probably be found out.

Don’t embellish your position – If you watched the parking lot, say so. Don’t say you were Doorman. Again, you’ll get caught once they ask a couple of basic questions.

Check your spelling – No explanation needed.

So, now you have credentials and a resume. What next?

POUND THE PAVEMENT/CHECK THE LISTINGS

Is it frustrating? Yes. Is it annoying? Yes. Will it get you a job? Maybe. But Craigslist and the newspaper are obvious starting points. Lookie lookie, Craigslist even has Security and Service Industry pages!

I usually don’t suggest making phone calls to Nightclubs when seeking employment. For one, the phone is rarely answered before 12 p.m. And second, the person answering the phone probably won’t have the time or energy to listen to you asking about work. That being said, a phone call can get you some important information: the Head of Security’s name, the Manager’s name, and when they are available. Once you get these tidbits of information, polish the resume, dress nicely, and pay them a visit!

Most Nightclubs are incredibly slow if not completely dead during their first 1 – 1.5 hours of business. While there is no best time to show up, Opening is better than Last Call. When you arrive, have a brief conversation with the person in charge, preferable with the person who’s name you already know from your prior phone call. They probably setting up for the evening, but will at least acknowledge your presence, take a quick look at your resume, and maybe even ask you some questions. It is extremely important that during these few minutes you let them know how serious you are about finding employment, give them a quick rundown of your skills, and depending on your skill set/experience tell them what you are willing to do in order to get the job.

DO NOT: Brag about getting into fights, act like a tough guy/gal, tell the manager how many heads you’ve cracked, disparage other clubs, or boast about being the best Security Staffer they’ve ever met. It’s unprofessional, unbecoming, and you probably end up having your resume placed in the “circular file”

CALL BACK!

Once you turned in your resume, don’t forget to CALL BACK or make a return visit. If you turn in your resume on a weekend night, wait until Tues/Weds of the following week before calling back. This will give the Manager or Head of Security a chance to recover from the weekend and get to their paperwork. If you return to the establishment, do it the following weekend.

Bars and Nightclubs are fairly insular, closed workplaces. They aren’t the fastest to bring in people off the street to work for them, especially since there are probably friends or acquaintances within their network to whom they’d rather give the shift. But that doesn’t mean a little patience and perseverance won’t get you in the door. Keep at it and keep your head up!

Until next time…