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In The Boardroom With...

Joseph Young
Senior Vice President, Innovation & Product Management
G4S Thank you for joining us today, Joe. Can you tell us what your role is at G4S and how G4S is helping customers manage through and beyond the current COVID-19 business environment?

Joe Young: Thank you for having me. I am the Senior Vice President of Innovation and Product Management at G4S. Our goal, as our customer’s trusted advisor, is to create and offer a comprehensive program that will help our customers be better prepared for the current and potential future disruptions to business operations. That’s why we launched the G4S Return to Work Assurance program. That sounds interesting. What is the Return to Work Assurance Program?

Joe Young: The G4S Return to Work Assurance Program helps guide customers through their journey of reopening locations and functioning in a changed security environment. It is a way for G4S to help our customers analyze the current state of the world and build tailored solutions to help plan and operate through the pandemic. 

We have segmented our solutions in three categories: people, process and technology. This helps organizations identify the right solutions based on their needs and budget, and deploy a structured approach based on meeting their goals. 

In focusing on people, process and technology, we break the planning of Returning to Work into three milestones:

  1. Essential Service Assurance: G4S has been helping customers since the pandemic began. While some shelter-in-place orders in cities have been lifted, many are still in place. To prepare workplaces designated as “essential” for those earlier openings, we assisted customers with deploying temperature solution programs, helping to ensure proper PPE use and helping to enforce physical distancing protocols.
  2. Reopening the economy: As restrictions loosen and employees begin to return to workplace environments, government and health organizations are providing guidelines on what businesses can do to prepare for the re-entry of a large workforce. Our experience inspires confidence and trust from our customers as we continue to build programs to help our customers comply with that guidance.
  3. Returning to “business as usual” post-pandemic: We believe there will be a new way of doing business post-pandemic, and we can help organizations wrap that into a customized Business Resilience Assurance program. That sounds like a fascinating program. What is an example of one of the solutions in this Return to Work Assurance program?

Joe Young: As employees return to work, organizations are looking to see where they should take guidance from to help protect their employees and customers. The CDC and OSHA currently recommend that businesses consider conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks (e.g., symptom and/or temperature screening) of employees before they enter the facility, in accordance with state and local public health authorities. To address these needs, G4S created a Temperature Solutions offer in our Return to Work Assurance program that can help ensure a controlled screening process and area is maintained.

Temperature solutions can include measuring an individual’s temperature and/or assessing symptoms in dedicated screening areas with optional waiting areas. 

  • People: Our people are highly trained in verbal screening and the use of temperature measurement devices to help ensure employees, customers and visitors entering a business meet the right requirements set for passing through the screening area.
  • Process: Proper policies and procedures are needed to ensure the effectiveness of the screening to meet both short term goals and long term objectives. We will work closely with our customers to develop a comprehensive process to help bring together security personnel with the most appropriate technology solutions to meet an organization’s screening needs. 
  • Technology: Technology is a vital tool in screening for body temperatures that could indicate a fever, a symptom of COVID-19. We offer handheld, mobile and integrated temperature solutions. Why did G4S decide to develop this program?

Joe Young: In response to the disruption to business that COVID-19 caused, many companies had more questions than resolutions. When we spoke with our customers to understand their risks and concerns, we quickly determined that helping customers through this journey should be a holistic, well thought through process. 

As a result of the urgent need to slow the spread of the virus and keep employees safe with more stringent protocols than ever before, we saw companies and industry groups push products and solutions to do things they weren’t originally designed to do in order to meet immediate needs.

For example, the temperature screening industry became a multi-billion dollar industry overnight. Most of the marketed solutions are not compliant to the guidelines that are coming from the FDA, CDC, OSHA, IOS & IEC, and that creates additional risk for our customers, both short and long-term. We’ve also seen guidelines rapidly change and evolve in a matter of weeks. As a result, we came to understand that without a comprehensive approach or plan, our customers would end up spending the majority of their time responding to immediate market drivers, and wouldn’t be able to dedicate resources towards building a longer-term plan. 

While some of our competitors were rushing to meet the immediate needs, we paused and took a moment to consider the bigger picture. We did a lot of research, met with strategic partners, reviewed control documents, ideated with customers via our Academy innovation forum and grounded all of that in a “jobs-to-be-done” framework. The end result is a comprehensive approach to helping customers mitigate risks during this pandemic, and also helping them to put process and technology in place that will meet their future needs. What makes the G4S Return to Work Assurance program different?

Joe Young:  Our program is different in many ways. We are offering a holistic approach that is based on risk and backed in research. Our “whole” solution is modular and can be deployed using a phased approach, again to meet short term needs and long term goals. We are researching and vetting the best technology for our customers. Every customer has different needs and environments, and we can look at the different site types and build a solution to meet each of those site types. We provide more clarity around what is needed to help our customers. We also understand that all businesses are open to risk from changing rules and regulations coming from our governing and regulatory bodies. Our solutions and services are agile and will change and adapt as needed. Being agile is good and needed in today’s changing environment because of the different types of needs out there. That said, what kind of companies need the Return to Work Assurance program? 

Joe Young: Every organization, no matter the size, needs some form of the Return to Work Assurance program. If an organization wants to assure its employees they are doing all they can to create a safe working environment, and they want to assure customers they are doing all they can to keep their business operating safely, every organization will need to implement some form of return to work program.

The level of participation will be different depending on the organization and its size. The Return to Work Assurance Program can be customized and adapted to local government and health guidelines. With states allowing business to re-open, there are many variations in guidelines state to state, or even city to city. By structuring our program into people, process and technology, we can be nimble to meet a wide variety of needs. As we all struggle to understand what the new normal is, it is clear that there won’t be a uniform answer, and structured flexibility will be key in helping our customers comply with new regulations to help keep people safe. What do you think will be the new normal for businesses?

Joe Young: We’ve seen a lot of opinions published. My take is that no one knows what the new normal is yet because it doesn’t exist. Nobody can predict the future, but there are structured ways to understand how to keep track of what these new trends will be as we work through the milestones. We spend time with our customers to understand what they are doing, thinking, feeling and interacting with on the front and back lines of the business, so we can help deliver the right experience. We’ve been conducting business this way for the past few years, and now with the world reopening, we will continue working with customers to understand what behaviors have stuck and are a part of the new normal -- and which have gone away. It’s a continuous process that helps G4S be agile, understand the trends, the impact and what customers need. Business is going to change as a result of COVID-19, and we at G4S are going to help our customers understand what those changes are and how to best conduct business moving forward. G4S has the toolsets to personalize the experience, which is a big differentiator.