G4S's Harry Schwartz says that his company's mandate is about much more than simply protecting assets.
G4S is the world's largest security company. In Canada, G4S has more than 1,600 clients and more than 9,400 employees. Two hundred employees live and work in Manitoba and they include alarm response personnel, security guards and bylaw enforcement officers.
While providing security for private businesses and government institutions is the primary focus of G4S, relationship-building is at the core of everything it does, says Schwartz, General Manager for G4S in the Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Northwestern Ontario region.
"It's a relationship business where we're trying to be able to provide peace of mind," he says.
"We're not just trying to get you to hire us so we can put a guard at your building. Over the last two or three years I've probably recommended at least a half dozen times that having a security guard was not what they needed. That's turning away business but I would rather have them have their problem solved... than us just pocketing some money."
In situations where it was determined that security guard services were not what the client needed, as security experts, G4S was able to offer a security risk assessment and to recommend more cost-effective options to help solve their security problems.
Schwartz says that one of the advantages that sets G4S apart from other security firms is the fact that it is part of a worldwide network.
"We're able to communicate quite easily with peers throughout North America, South America and overseas and we've been able to leverage that to gain access to training materials and get insight into certain industry markets," he says.
The company has been serving Manitoba for more than 15 years and its clients here include the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Kildonan Place Shopping Centre, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and the Winnipeg Parking Authority.
G4S has enjoyed significant growth in Manitoba over the past three years, a fact Schwartz says can be largely attributed to the hard work and dedication of employees, whose own safety is a major priority.
Just as the needs of its clients have become more sophisticated, so too has the training G4S provides to its employees. For example, guards working at one of 15 WRHA community clinics are trained in mental health first aid, while G4S employees at Kildonan Place receive specialized shop theft training. As well, the company offers nonviolent crisis intervention training overseen by an in-house trainer.
Those efforts haven't gone unnoticed. Last year, G4S's Manitoba branch was runner-up for the company's international CEO Award for safety.
"We want to make sure our employees are going home at the end of the day in the same condition they came to work in," Schwartz says.
Although guarding services remain a necessary aspect of the expertise that G4S provides, the company has also begun to expand its services. Its systems integration division offers security risk assessments and provides recommendations on security hardware and software.
"It also utilizes technology that allows guards to cover more territory more effectively", Schwartz says. "You are never going to eliminate the human component, but they can perform their jobs better with the technology that is out there."
For more information on G4S, visit: http://g4s.ca
Want to meet Harry Schwartz? You'll find him at a TEN Event