Allied Universal, the 150,000-employee security company hiring about 50,000 new employees over the next few months, is trying a new spin on referrals, offering money not just to employees but to organizations that may need funding.
The company is the result of a merger between Universal and AlliedBarton. It handles guards for private companies, higher education, and the government, and is headquartered in Pennsylvania and California.
Recruiting and Staffing SVP Catherine King says the company is faced with several challenges. One, unemployment is just generally low. Two, the service sector in particular is competing hard for employees. On top of that, other service-sector competitors by their nature have a quicker hiring process — even meeting someone in the morning and hiring them in the afternoon. Allied Universal has to think about various state licensing requirements; clearances for Defense Department customers in some cases; sensitive roles at chemical and other hazardous sites; drug tests; criminal background-checks, and more.
Originating from the CEO, the company came up with the idea of — in addition to a thousand or two for employee referrals — paying $400 to organizations that refer someone who’s hired. These include churches, veterans groups, senior organizations, and more. The $400 will be paid in installments each quarter.
Allied Universal has identified more than 1,000 such organizations it wants to approach, and is quickly rolling out a series of events in partnership with as many as it can. On September 11, a Chicago church put on an event, attended by Allied Universal representatives, that brought in 261 attendees, with 189 getting job offers (provided they complete the employment process, background checks, etc). Further Chicago job applicants may arrive in the coming days, post event.
King says there are lot of misconceptions about a security career, including that you should be a former police officer. “Customer service skills, good communication, softer skills” — those are all vitally important, she says. The value proposition for potential hires, in fact, is about how noble the work is protecting people and property.
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She says that during the recent hurricanes, security employees were the ones protecting utility employees as they worked to restore power, and that the skills (such as CPR) used by security personnel are valuable in all aspects of employees’ lives.