As retailers begin fine-tuning strategies for Black Friday and holiday shopping (yes, it’s fast-approaching!), there’s more on the drawing board than product features and where the line begins. Keeping customers and employees safe is a priority for every business. Even apart from the busy shopping season, public safety is top of mind in more settings than ever before.
Eric White and his team at Tyco Retail Solutions/Johnson Controls coach businesses and their loss prevention teams each week. When we spoke on a recent episode of Focus on Suppliers, Eric explained how just staying aware of your surroundings is a huge factor in the store, office, and other public places.
Society Making Us More Aware
News headlines and social media report incidents each week of public threats. As Eric discusses, we understand the possibility of danger in any given situation. It’s up to individuals (and companies that train them) to assess their surroundings and be prepared to react.
“It’s on everyone’s mind,” he begins. “For the most part, we’ve socialized the concepts of ‘run, hide, fight.’ People know what to do in the event of an active shooter. Almost every company today has a program of some kind that is built around get out if you can, hide if you can’t get out, and if you need to, protect yourself. As we continue to mature in those programs, people are beginning to feel a little more confident that they know what to do.
“The next level in the ability to be able to respond effectively is a personal responsibility,” Eric advises. “There’s no program I can put in a book that can replace a person’s internal confidence to say if something happens, I know how I’m going to respond.”
Safety Meets Awareness in the Yellow
As Eric and his team work with businesses and individuals, he advises not to be “overly-cautious.” While it’s important to stay aware in any situation, it doesn’t need to lead to paranoia. There’s a healthy place in the middle for everyone to feel safe, yet maintain careful awareness.
“We’re calling it living in the yellow,” Eric explains. “If green is ‘I’m completely ignorant of my surroundings and I don’t pay attention to anything,’ that’s not where we can be in today’s society.
“If red is ‘I can’t really operate because I’m so worried something’s going to happen to me,’ that’s just not healthy.
“Yellow is that area of ‘I’m just paying attention to my surroundings. I look at people, I make eye contact, and I’m just more aware if something’s out of place.'”
Staying Aware in Your Workplace
Large crowds of shoppers aren’t the only places for potential incidents. Recent headlines have reported isolated violence in offices and similar places of business. Though rare, Eric still advises taking precautions in the workplace. Many instances can be preventable when employees are aware of small signs in advance.
“When you dig back into the cases, it’s unfortunate that the one commonality they all share is, before the events, someone knew,” he says. “People put things out on social media, they’ll say things to co-workers, or colleagues will just overhear things. You really have to encourage people to speak up if they hear something concerning.
“They don’t have to be an expert and know whether or not a threat is real. They just have to be courageous enough to tell someone who can determine if it’s a serious threat or risk. Law enforcement will go through a process of validating a threat to see if that person presents a risk.”
(To learn more about keeping your customers and employees safe, visit TycoRetailSolutions.com)