Each year, franchisees and corporate team members from across the Signal 88 Security franchise system gather at the brand’s three-day convention to participate in training modules, speaker series, networking events and innovation roundtables. This year’s convention, held in February in San Antonio, featured the unveiling of a new program designed to optimize one of the most crucial aspects of any Signal 88 operation: officer recruitment.
The program, titled the “Officer Brand Experience,” was developed over the last year by a team of franchise owners and corporate staff to institute a comprehensive guide to attracting and developing the best Signal 88 officers. Mike Lowry, Director of Operations at Signal 88 Security of Tulsa, Oklahoma, said that the program is more about standardizing existing best practices than developing new ones.
“We already have an excellent system for finding and retaining the best talent,” Lowry said. “The Officer Brand Experience is really just about sharing the best practices that individual franchisees have developed with the entire franchise system. That includes everything from finding officers to recruitment, hiring, interviewing, onboarding and long-term retention.”
The program will be introduced to franchisees first as a manual, then reinforced over the coming months with other media and resources to help franchises every step of the way. Lowry says the project may evolve over time.
“It’s still being finalized, and we want to make sure that it’s something that we can continue to update as new innovations are developed,” Lowry said. “Right now the crux of the program is a manual focusing on simple, effective techniques and strategies that Signal 88 owners can apply immediately.”
To find and recruit qualified Signal 88 officers, the Officer Brand Experience offers a number of both macro- and micro-level tips, including focusing marketing efforts on the places where strong candidates live, work and play, and a list of specific words and phrases to use in advertising that appeal to people with the types of backgrounds that match Signal 88’s officer profile.
Justin Farmer, a Signal 88 general manager who also participated in the program’s development, said many of the best Signal 88 officers have military backgrounds, and marketing should be crafted and applied accordingly.
“Good Signal 88 officers come from a number of different backgrounds, but the ones we’ve had the most success with historically are military personnel who are coming off deployment and looking for work,” Farmer said.
While military experience is always beneficial for Signal 88 Security officers, Lowry said that depending on the venue, police experience is sometimes preferable.
“Military experience is always going to help, particularly for patrol jobs, but police experience or even just an aspiration to work in law enforcement matches well with dedicated security jobs,” Lowry said. “We have a lot of officers who eventually join law enforcement after Signal 88.”
Regardless of experience, Lowry said it’s important that Signal 88 Security owners vet officer candidates to make sure their values align with the brand’s values.
“Signal 88 is built around a set of core values that informs every aspect of the business, so it’s important that we hire officers who live by those values,” Lowry said.
To increase retention, Farmer said the Officer Brand Experience emphasizes team building and growth, encouraging officers to understand they are working toward something important.
“Officers want to feel like they are part of a family and not just a number,” Farmer said. “The program is designed to show officers that they are valued and that Signal 88 is here to help them grow. We try to recognize and award our officers for good work, and we want them to feel like there is no ceiling for their professional growth within the company. The better they do, the more opportunities that will be available for them. We’ve had officers who have only been with us for a few months and they are already taking on supervisory roles because they’ve done great work.”
The Officer Brand Experience program will be rolled out to all franchisees this year. Lowry expects the program to show marked results for all owners and that it will be particularly beneficial for new Signal 88 franchisees.
“This is going to really reduce the learning curve for new franchisees,” Lowry said. “They are not going to have to reinvent the wheel. The best thing about working in a franchise system is having access to the knowledge and resources of everyone in the system, and that’s exactly what this program is taking advantage of. Signal 88 has an incredibly strong operational system already, but they are always looking for feedback from owners to improve it, and this program is one of the best examples of that philosophy in action.”