Every manager worth her/his salt knows that companies are all about people. It’s people that innovate, develop, implement – make things happen; it is people – with families and a full life back home – who “bring home the bacon”. Yet, when it comes to making use of Executive Protection (EP) services, sometimes perceptions of unnecessary luxury and excessive costs take precedence over facts.
So we thought we’d put out the facts and let each one make an informed judgement:
What is Executive Protection (EP)?
The “generic” definition of Executive Protection (EP) services, also known as Close Personal Protection services, refers to a wide and varied set of security and safety measures that a professional service provider takes to ensure the safety and security of personnel, both domestically and during overseas travel, and sometimes in challenging environments.
“Executive” Means “Everybody”
First of all, let’s dispense with the “elitist” undertone of the term “Executive Protection”. It’s not the job title that is protected; it’s the person, the group, sometimes entire families – but always a person – a person with a full life, and a whole universe of loved ones. A technician doing an essential job in a hard-to-reach (and sometimes hard-to-leave) place is valuable to her/his company beyond any title. According to Mr. Jordan Bajor, COO of Gynesonics, Inc., “I’m aware of the ‘elitist’ connotations that the term ‘executive’ evokes. But in our company, and in other companies I know, every person – be it an executive, an engineer – anybody who travels to a location where we think he or she can benefit from this service, gets it.”
Providing professional security services to any employee who needs them makes plain good sense. Organizations are information highways; exposing one employee to undue risk– regardless of rank or role – is an act that will surely reverberate throughout the organization, doing real damage to employee morale and to their future willingness to go all-out for the mission and the company. Conversely, a story of a company that does what is needed to ensure the safety and security of its employees, whoever they are, wherever they are, will also be highly effective in boosting employees’ morale, commitment and possibly productivity.
Using EP makes also good economic sense. “Insurance rates may go down because of these services,” says Mr. Bajor.
Executive Protection is Not an Expensive Luxury
It is true that some companies brand their Executive Protection services as exclusive “Executive” provisions, delivered in a glossy package with an appropriately “executive” price tag.
But for those companies who look for professionalism and not gloss, and for those companies who plan ahead and make their travelling personnel safety concerns a matter of regular consideration, costs can be quite reasonable. In fact, the cost of a car with a trained security driver is often very close to the cost of a “regular” overseas limousine service; not to mention the significant reduction in liability that comes with the use of a professional protection service.
Here is a sample comparison:
And, in addition to cost considerations, here are the added benefits that the secure-car traveler receives:
- Trusted source of transportation
- Standard car profile
- Bi-lingual security-trained driver
- Route & travel planning (research & risk assessment)
- Local in-country contact point
- Driver communication to a 24-hours command center
- Traveler briefing on any security situation
Of course, increasing levels of protection based on rolling emergencies (such as extraction from a warzone) incur additional costs, but these situations are few and far between and do not represent the service as a whole. After all, the purpose of the whole service is to avoid getting into these extraordinary circumstances in the first place. And frankly, when such an emergency occurs, money is the lowest consideration for all concerned.
According to Mr. Bajor, “In general, people are pretty unaware of the risks, and of the opportunities to mitigate these risks, except for when they travel to really high-profile areas. People tend to be complacent, and they need to be educated about both the risks and the benefits of executive protection services.”
“Executive Protection Burdens Traveling Executives”
There is, indeed, a perception that use of EP service “interferes” with travelers’ work or leisure routines. “We do hear occasional gripes about EP limiting freedom of movement, sometimes forcing employees to stay at their hotel, and even eat in the hotel restaurant,” says Mr. Bajor. But he adds: “If the tradeoff of this discomfort is maintaining the security and safety of our traveling employees, the inconvenience is quite acceptable and understandable.”
Professional EP service providers are fully aware of this tradeoff. Naturally, they focus on maximizing security while minimizing inconvenience. A good EP service makes sure that clients are fully briefed on the security situation both before and during their trip. Such awareness is essential for both psychological and security reasons. Furthermore, a true EP professional is not only trained in all aspects of security and safety but also in all aspects of blending into the background of all activities, without ever becoming an obstruction or a focus of attention – neither for the traveler, nor for anybody else around.
As you can see, EP is really all about people.
Still uncertain about how EP can work for you? Please contact us.