Left: Sophian Husen is an Operations Manager with PICO Guards. He has a Diploma in Security Management & Fire Safety Studies, which helps him in his work rostering the officers under his supervision and making sure their training is up-to-date.
Right: Bharath S/O Prakash has a WSQ (Security & Automotive Engineering). As a Trainee Operations Executive, he also manages the manpower of several sites and ensures officers are deployed appropriately and on-time.
PICO Guards champions its "nationwide footprint", a phrase that brings to mind government offices or technological equipment. More importantly, the security firm's rights to that claim come from its people, as PICO Guards has over 600 officers deployed all over Singapore in shopping malls, distribution centres, academic establishments, corporate offices and more.
Managing so many people in so many different places means that PICO Guards must choose its Operations Team very carefully. In this arena, it has adopted an outstanding approach where ability is valued over qualifications or experience.
Grasping your Potential
"Other companies don't give opportunities to people that don't have experience," said Sophian Husein, Operations Manager. "But PICO Guards thinks positively of applicants that have interest and passion to work in the security line."
"So within two years, I moved from Supervisor, to Operations Executive, to Senior Operations Executive… and now I am an Operations Manager."
Indeed, PICO Guards does not hesitate to reward ability with upward career movement. In Sophian's case, it took into account his long history working security for Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and various marine companies when deciding to move him forward.
PICO Guards similarly promoted Bharath S/O Prakash to its Operations Team in under a year, and the 25-year-old Operations Executive was eager to explain why.
"At PICO Guards, they don't look at experience, but performance," he asserted. "Look at me, I'm 25. I'm an Operations Executive. We have people with thirty, forty years of experience who are also Operations Executives."
When he was initially interviewed by PICO Guards, he was impressed that the organisation led with a conversation about what they could offer and their belief in their officers.
Bharath asserted: "At PICO Guards, as long as you can do your part and succeed at your work, the boss won't hold you back." He went on to describe how, a year into his job, the boss personally sat down with him to discuss his education and career prospects and recommended him for the Operations Team promotional track he is on today.
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A Secure Position
The chance for rapid career advancement may be a sweet deal, but Bharath and Sophian work for the love of their jobs rather than any fancy titles.
"You never know what will happen tomorrow," said Sophian, describing his duties overseeing over a hundred Security Officers, Operations Executives and other positions as an Operations Manager.
"Sometimes, you go to sleep with your site fully covered, but then the next day someone has taken sick leave, or the client has a request – and then you have to think on your feet as to how to deal with it."
Sophian manages twelve sites, primarily in the commercial sector, making sure manpower requirements and client requests are accounted for. He rosters officers and arranges assignments for them based on their rank, training and client requirements.
This means dealing with the strange and sudden, which keeps him engaged and enthusiastic about his work. Sophian told us about an incident with an officer who could not climb the stairs. He quickly changed manpower arrangements so that other officers would take turns patrolling those areas.
These incidences have taught him the importance of time-management and preparation. He also makes sure to take care of even the little things, making a point to remember all hundred officer's names and go down to sites regularly to check-in with them.
Said Sophian: "When I see them learn things and put them into practice on-site, I recommend them for promotion. When I know I have passed down my knowledge like how others passed theirs down to me – that is my greatest achievement as a PICO officer."
Bharath is also benefitting from a similar learning environment. He manages 19 sites, and he has some stories of his own – like when six sites lacked sufficient manpower for four days straight. Eventually, the problem got resolved because of the close teamwork between him and the rest of the Operations Team.
"Everyone worked as a team," Bharath recalled. "We'd all sat down at a table and not one of us got up until we had found a solution."
Securing a Place
"You'll never work alone," is Sophian's assurance to new recruits or those interested in joining PICO Guards. "We at PICO Guards work as a team."
But he emphasised that PICO Guards places as much faith in you as you do it in it. "You need to prepare yourself," he went on. "You need to have the determination, you need to have the passion and if you do, we won't leave you behind."
Bharath's words were somewhat simpler and more to the point. "If you're willing to do the hours, if you're willing to sacrifice for it – you can make good money in security," he informed us.
More seriously, he is looking forward to new blood in their young Operations Team. "There's always something interesting going on. If you join PICO Guards, there won't be a day where you go back home and wonder ‘what did I do today?'"
"You'll definitely enjoy your time here!"