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Book Review: Reducing Turnover in the Services Sector

​Reducing Turnover in the Services Sector: Lessons from the Security Industry. By Michael E. Goodboe, CPP. Balboa Press;; 230 pages; $16.99.

Author Michael E. Goodboe, CPP, takes aim at a problem that plagues the security industry, as well as other service industries. Reducing Turnover in the Services Sector: Lessons from the Security Industry explores the causes of employee turnover and offers some commonsense solutions. 

Personnel turnover is a normal component of business and can at times be healthy for an organization. However, excessive turnover leads to excessive costs, reduced profits, and inefficiency, all while degrading operational effectiveness. Churning of the employee pool is not conducive for team cohesiveness and the acquisition of individual experience necessary to ​provide a basic service level or an effective emergency response.

Unfortunately, as the author points out, the security industry for too long has accepted turnover as a normal part of doing business. Goodboe challenges that assumption and encourages managers to address the problem within their organizations by finding out why the situation exists and correcting it. Managers must recognize that a good number of employees leave their employers because of poor leadership, perhaps more than any other reason. Competent supervisors are critical to performance and retention of employees.

Among his solutions are delivering leadership skills for first-line supervisors and senior managers and using mentoring and coaching techniques to develop all levels of personnel. Quality training for security officers and supervisors using adult learning strategies is crucial. Goodboe discusses his training research and introduces the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment for understanding and identifying a successful match between the individual applicant and employment with an organization. There is also discussion of a seven-level leadership energy model based on measurements from the Energy Leadership Index. 

Goodboe spent 30 years at G4S Secure Solutions USA as a senior vice president in human resources, so he knows his subject. He writes in the first person, which gives the book a conversational tone. The overall visual presentation is professional with quality materials, clear type, and a detailed table of contents, but no index. Tables and self-help worksheets are found throughout the work. 

This book is recommended for individuals in security and business management positions in service industries. The book could also be considered as a supplemental text in college courses focusing on security management or general business issues. This may be one of the few works that specifically explores the high turnover issue in-depth and presents solutions.   

Reviewer: Paul D. Barnard, CPP, CISM (Certified Information Security Manager), SFPC (Security Fundamentals Professional Certification), is an adjunct professor in loss prevention, security management, and intelligence analysis programs. He has been a member of ASIS since 1975. The opinion expressed is solely that of the reviewer and does not imply a view of any organization.