With a myriad of security threats currently presented to businesses, governments and nonprofit organizations, organizations must remain vigilant in structuring efficient, up-to-date security and safety protocol to defend their staff and infrastructure, as well as stay compliant with a myriad or regulations. A variety of individuals must work in tandem to achieve and maintain such measures, and while workplace leaders act as continuity spearheads, it is the human resources (HR) department that plays a significant foundational role in establishing a corporate culture of safety and the enforcement of vital security policy. 

With an increase in liability risks relating to the standard of care, hostile work environments and cybersecurity; HR’s place in corporate security has only become more pronounced, gaining newfound importance as a conduit between the security department and staff—clarifying policy, providing resources, and working behind the scenes to recognize and anticipate the potential information security issues that arise in every company. This fact in mind, HR’s security role remains as critical as ever, and it must be nurtured to mitigate loopholes and maximize workplace safety, as well as address reported policy violations regarding company employees.  

Enforcing organizational safety

HR’s primary contributions to security revolve around collaborative policy establishment and enforcement. Employee codes of conduct, for instance, can illustrate “clear instructions for safeguarding sensitive information” “workplace violence prevention” “prohibited conduct” etc., which include punishments for violations; drawing boundaries on what is safe and acceptable during day-to-day work. HR staff are primarily responsible for communicating these policies during training and new-hire processing, setting up management and administrative staff with new reports who are well-versed in best security practices, and working with supervisors to ensure performance improvement and remediation for staff members. 

Promoting an effective corporate culture

Beyond new hire orientation, HR remains vital in maintaining a culture of safety & security; this is especially applicable to the increasing amount of organizations shifting from a traditional, more secure workplace to a combination between open-floor plan offices which rely on advanced software, digital databases, and remote communication devices. In this sense, HR professionals must work closely with security, compliance and information technology personnel to ensure that appropriate security mechanisms have been put in place. As a rule, a more secure workplace is often a less convenient one. It’s the HR department’s responsibility to communicate the balance between convenience and the need to protect company assets and the most important asset — it’s staff and stakeholders. 

Building for the Future

The future of business security is both nebulous and promising, and each advancement and new corporate norm is destined to bring about new threats (and variations of existing ones). Therefore, today’s workforce must be constantly thinking ahead in terms of security-appropriate hiring and talent retention. HR’s importance in this process is multifaceted; it not only serves as the backdrop for necessary security-centered hiring, but also as vetting system for newly acquired employees — ensuring that internal and external safety are being considered in tandem. 

In principle, HR’s place in business security is emblematic of the need for internal cohesion, a critical part of both security upkeep and continuity planning. Leaders should strive to make all workplace departments uniform to promote fluidity and consistency.