Please stop describing yourselves this way. You are professionals who have a lot more responsibilities and tasks than meet the eye.
In the hospitality industry, you are the name and face of the brand you represent. In business settings, you are the first point of contact tasked with making a desirable first impression, while being assertive, yet friendly, and maintaining control of your lobby.
You are expert multitaskers. While signing people in and printing visitor’s badges, you are keeping an eye on the front door, the hallway to the restrooms, buzzing in the mail delivery clerk and authenticating service providers. On top of that, you’re often also tasked with monitoring the CCTV security system!
Behind your welcoming professional smile, you have overwatch on access control and security. You deal with difficult people, and are first in line with regard to situations and threats that most other people in your building aren’t even aware of.
Unfortunately, personal safety and situational awareness training for front desk professionals is often overlooked. This may be due a lack of appreciation for the responsibilities front desk professionals attend to daily; it may be an oversight; it may be due to complacency or high staff turnover.
However, it is imperative that employers give the front desk staff the training they deserve and require. Important things employers need to consider with regard to training include:
- How will my front desk staff respond to a bomb threat? Will they evacuate immediately, or will they stay calm and ask for additional information that will be helpful to the police?
- If violence erupts, will they attempt to intervene, or be a good witness and call police from a safe distance?
- If a hostile intruder breaches the lobby, what is the game plan? Is there a Safe Room?
- Domestic violence “spillover.” What is this, and how do you mitigate against it?
- Someone attempts to “charm the front desk” into giving up private information. What does this look and sound like? What measures should your staff take?
These are just a few of the issues your front desk personnel must handle. Reminding them that they are, in fact, front desk professionals, and empowering them to take charge of their environment is fundamental.
These employees should always be trained and empowered to act confidently, professionally, and decisively.
Not only will your business run more smoothly, effectively, and safely – demonstrating respect and care for the safety of your front desk staff will almost always lead to a higher level of job satisfaction and less turnover at the position.