Security+: Certis’ Secret Weapon Revealed

It is no accident that Certis is one name that comes first to your mind when you think of security.

Headquartered in Singapore, Certis hires 16,000 people alone here, with a total headcount of 34,000 globally in Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, China, Malaysia and the Middle East.

How did Certis grow to become the leading advanced integrated security organisation today?

The origins of Certis can be traced back to 1958 when a Guard and Escort Unit under the Police Force was formed. This unit then became a statutory board known as “The Commercial & Industrial Security Corporation” (CISCO) and was subsequently corporatised in 2005.

In 2007, CISCO was rebranded as Certis CISCO. After a slew of major wins, it subsequently diversified into the non-security business and acquired facilities management capabilities along the way.

Significantly, Certis made its pivot towards technology in 2015 and went on to become a total service provider offering physical security, technology services, facilities management and integrated services. With multiple services, Certis could build and operate bespoke solutions for complex, critical operations that extend beyond security.

The new Certis was launched in 2018, the same year it adopted the Security Industry Transformation Map to move towards Industry 4.0 and Worker 4.0.

Source: MHA

In 2019, Certis launched Security+, an integrated service for customers which combines advanced security, facilities management and guest services underpinned by technology. Today. Certis counts Jewel Changi Airport among its Security+ customers, and continuously develops solutions in-house.

At a recent visit to Certis, Certis’ team of in-house experts show NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng and union leaders from the Union of Security Employees the latest technology to better serve their clients. (Photo: Certis)

Working with the Union to empower employees

A company is only as good as its employees, which is why Certis emphasises on working with the Union of Security Employees (USE) to care for its employees.

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Union leaders (NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng in red and USE Executive Secretary Steve Tan in white) discuss with Certis management how they can collectively improve wages and work prospects for security officers.

In 2014, Certis signed an MOU with the Union of Security Employees (USE) to establish an additional grievance channel for employees.

Certis also embarked on the Progressive Wage Model in 2016 together with USE and even adopted the PWM model months earlier than the rest of its sector, to ensure security employees got better wages based on their skills, productivity and career responsibilities.

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The mandatory Security Progressive Wage Model offers security officers opportunities to get better wages and work prospects. (Graphic: USE)

This means that security officers have chances to climb the career ladder and receive training. Their job scope and environment are also redesigned or improved so they have better jobs.

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Graphic: MOM

Ultimately, the union’s objective is to help security employees, by partnering employers to raise their work prospects.

Moving security employers towards Security 4.0

With Security+, Certis has been able to secure new contracts by offering its clients a full suite of advanced, integrated facilities management, security and guest experience in a single holistic solution. This helps its clients to reap synergies and increase productivity.

However, some clients still insist on procuring based on headcount, a less productive method compared to outcome-based deployment. Contracts based on headcount chopes more security officers who would otherwise be better off being trained for multiple roles and getting higher pay.

Clients also sometimes expect security officers to manage unforeseen situations that they may not be trained for, such as a leaking pipe, a stalled lift or fixing a broken CCTV.

With these training gaps in mind, USE proposed forming a Company Training Committee (CTC) to Certis. While Certis was already training its security officers to handle non-security tasks, it was happy to formalise an arrangement which would allow it to tap on USE’s knowhow and experience to further upskill its workforce.

Bridging the skills and training gaps with tripartite Company Training Committees

The CTC would consist of representatives from the union and company, making commitments to meet on a regular basis.

During the meetings, the representatives would chart out the gaps, plan the necessary training (including reallocating manpower to free up employees for training) and also pool resources (such as securing buy-in from stakeholders, getting training funds and agreeing on training providers) to uplift security employees.

How the CTC will lead to better skills for security officers. (Photo: Certis)

The pilot batch of 50 security officers benefiting from the CTCs would be trained by April 2020 to have multiple skills in basic facilities management. This means they can identify and rectify electrical and plumbing faults on the spot, reducing the need for a separate group of on-site technicians).

These officers would also be upskilled to conduct centralised off-site monitoring at Certis’ Integrated Operations Centre.

The CTC representatives will discuss how to share productivity gains with employees via wage increases.

In NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng’s National Day Message, he said,

“Employers must transform and adapt to changes in the global and regional environment to pursue Industry 4.0 standards for their businesses.

At the same time, employers must invest in their workforce and their training so that businesses can transform most expeditiously to seize the competitive edge. When businesses do well, ensure that gains are shared with our workers.”.

He also emphasised how workers must be at the heart of policy-making so that when Singapore succeeds, Singaporeans can share in that success.

“Workers have put their trust in us, and we will continue to put them at the heart of everything we do because every worker matters.”.

To learn more about how the Union of Security Employees helps security employees get better wages and work prospects, visit 

Special thanks to the Union of Security Employees and Certis Group for the information. 

Featured photo courtesy of Certis Group.

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