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Empowering women to work night shifts in India

ISS is committed to ensuring that every employee enjoys a safe working environment regardless of where - and when - they work. However, for many women in India, working night shifts still comes with concerns in regard to safety. Jeena Nambiar, Security Operations Lead, has transformed how women feel about their security during nights shifts at a client manufacturing site.

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The female security guards fostering a sense of security

Jeena Nambiar, Security Operations Lead, leads a team of over 1,000 security professionals in south India. She´s also responsible for leading a team of over 600 colleagues for a key account in the manufacturing industry, where she oversees the security at the clients´ offices and showrooms, and a manufacturing plant located in a remote area in the outskirts of a jungle, where sightings of wild animals are common.

One of Jeena´s key contributions has been establishing a team of female security guards, who are deployed at the client´s manufacturing site. Before the ISS team began guarding the premises at night, only a handful of the client´s female employees agreed to go in for night duty. When the team was first deployed, they were supported by internal announcements from the client raising awareness among their female employees about having a team of lady security guards on night duty. This raised the confidence of the client´s female employees and the number of women opting in for night shifts has increased considerably.

If she can do it, so can we!

Leading by example – and by communication

While Jeena´s team of female security guards has helped the clients´ employees feel more secure, Jeena has also been instrumental in instilling a sense of security among her team. “If she can do it, so can we” – this is the confidence that Jeena says she believes in creating within her teams. “More than ‘leading from the front’, it is my duty to make my teams feel I am one of them”, she continues. For her, operations is all about communication – with colleagues, teams, and the client. Jeena’s team knows that she is with them every step of the way – touring the premises at night, interacting with the team, and putting their concerns at ease. Jeena´s hands-on approach to leadership has proven to have an impact even beyond her team, as all colleagues know they have a friend in her.

With her background in law and experience as Judge Advocate General in the Indian Army, it has felt natural to Jeena to take on and manage a wide range of responsibilities. In addition to her duties as a security lead, she loves to support and empower colleagues and clients on informed decision-making. “Information is knowledge, information is power,” as Jeena says. Whether she is surveying a site, developing risk mitigation plans or mobilising her team to handle a security event, Jeena handles her duties with diligence and skill.

An inclusive and supportive culture at ISS
Jeena joined ISS as she was attracted by the mentoring culture. She loves working with her manager who is more of a friend, mentor, and guide. This is the relationship she, too, strives to create with her team. Despite having a wide range of responsibilities, she finds it easy to manage it all – “It’s like deciding what to make for breakfast. You wake up prepared and map what needs to be done.” She also loves the inclusive culture at ISS, saying her colleagues have been extended family since day one.

In addition to a supportive culture, ISS supports her team of female security guards by providing a home pick-up and drop-off service, a valuable solution in areas where women do not feel safe at night, and regular refresher trainings on self-defense and reporting and dealing with harassment at the workplace. Operational Security Leads are in constant touch with their teams, and female colleagues are offered a well-defined communication procedure for emergency support that is operational 24/7. 

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