top of page

How To Get Employees To Listen To Security Measures

In an ideal world, business security would be a straightforward process. Security measures would be created and practiced by employees throughout the business, creating an impenetrable barrier from outside threats. Regularly scheduled security training would be met with enthusiasm, and employees would always be on the lookout for emerging threats, with a response planned and ready.

But let’s face it—real life isn't quite so simple. Implementing a security strategy often doesn't go as smoothly as planned. For many employees, staying on top of security measures can feel tedious, and it might seem like "someone else's responsibility."

However, getting employees to listen to and actively practice security measures in their daily work is just as crucial as crafting the strategy itself. That’s why it’s essential to continually seek creative ways to keep employees engaged and invested in your company’s security protocols.

The Importance of Employee Engagement

Employees play a vital role in detecting and deterring security threats. Recent reports conducted by Verizon indicate that 85% of data breaches involve a human element. Tactics such as phishing, social engineering, and other deceptive practices aim to exploit human vulnerabilities to gain access to sensitive information or cause harm to those within the organization. Employees can be the first targets for attacks, but through proper training, they can also be the first line of defense. 

Employees also play an important role in preventing incidents originating from within an organization. Threats that arise from disgruntled employees or those not following proper security procedures can be noticed by their coworkers and reported before an incident occurs. Improving employee engagement in your security measures helps those within your organization recognize the signs of an emerging threat from a coworker and better understand the proper methods to resolve it.

To foster employee engagement with security measures, it's important to focus on positive motivation rather than negative reinforcements. Aim to emphasize the benefits of following security measures, and highlight how continually implementing these measures can benefit not just the organization as a whole, but the employees themselves. 

Avoiding Common Pitfalls In Security Training

Traditional security training methods often fail to resonate with employees and lead to disengagement and non-compliance. One common pitfall is relying on lengthy, one-size-fits-all training sessions that overwhelm employees with information, resulting in important details being forgotten or ignored.

Avoid treating security training as a one-time event. Security threats are constantly evolving, and so should your training. Regularly updated, bite-sized training sessions can help keep security top-of-mind without disrupting employees' workflows. Interactive elements like quizzes, role-playing exercises, and gamified training modules can also enhance engagement and retention:

  • Regular Training Sessions: Conduct monthly or quarterly workshops on security protocols.

  • Phishing Simulations: Send mock phishing emails to test and educate employees.

  • Interactive E-Learning Modules: Provide engaging online courses with quizzes and scenarios.

  • Security News Updates: Share recent security breaches and lessons learned via newsletters or emails.

Another mistake is using fear tactics or overly technical language in training sessions. Scaring employees or confusing them with complex terms can create a sense of anxiety and resistance toward security protocols. Instead, focus on relatable scenarios and straightforward language that make the training more accessible and relevant to their daily work.

Security Training — Motivation At Its Core

To motivate employees to take security seriously, it's essential to connect security measures to their personal and professional interests. Emphasize how good security practices not only protect the company but also safeguard employees' own information and job security. When employees understand that their actions directly contribute to a safer work environment, they are more likely to be proactive and vigilant.

Consider incorporating elements of competition and reward into your security training. For example, you could set up a points system where employees earn rewards for demonstrating good security practices or completing training modules. Recognize top performers publicly to build a culture where security awareness is not only valued, but celebrated.

It's also important to address any underlying misconceptions or negative attitudes towards security protocols. Some employees may see security measures as inconvenient or unnecessary, or grow out of practice as time goes on. Providing clear explanations and real-world examples of the benefits of these measures can help shift perceptions. Additionally, offering support and resources, such as quick-reference guides and help desks, can make it easier for employees to follow security procedures confidently.

Methods to Motivate Employees:

To effectively motivate employees to support security measures, consider the following strategies:

  1. Establish Personalized Training Paths: Tailor security training sessions to address specific roles and responsibilities of different employee groups. This way, the content becomes more relevant and engaging, helping employees see the direct benefits of their learning. For example, customer service teams might get training on handling sensitive customer information, while IT staff receive advanced cybersecurity training.

  1. Focus On Recognition and Appreciation: Regularly acknowledge and celebrate employees' efforts and achievements. Public recognition, such as employee of the month awards or shout-outs during team meetings, can boost morale and incentivize ongoing security implementation.

  1. Utilize Feedback Mechanisms: Establish channels for employees to provide feedback on security policies and training. Act on this feedback to show that their input is valued and to ensure that security practices are compatible with employee workflows. To collect this information, set up anonymous public portals that employees can submit to or schedule regular feedback sessions, 

  1. Incentivize Through Career Development Opportunities: Provide opportunities for career growth and development, such as mentorship programs, leadership training, or opportunities to take on new challenges and responsibilities. Knowing there is room for advancement can inspire employees to perform their best.

  1. Regular Updates and Reminders: Send periodic updates and reminders about security policies and emerging threats. Keeping the information top-of-mind helps maintain a high level of awareness. You might use newsletters, email bulletins, or quick tip-of-the-week posts to keep security top-of-mind, ensuring employees are always informed about the latest best practices and potential risks.

Creating a Supportive Reporting Environment

Empowering employees also involves creating an environment where they feel comfortable reporting potential security issues without fear of repercussions. Encourage a culture of openness and support, where employees can share their concerns and suggestions for improving security practices. By fostering a sense of collective responsibility, you can create a more resilient and security-conscious organization.

Building a Culture of Security Awareness

Getting employees to listen to and actively participate in security measures requires a multifaceted approach. Engage employees through clear communication, avoid ineffective training methods, motivate through personal connection and rewards, and empower them with the right tools and resources. By fostering a culture of security awareness and collective responsibility, you can ensure that your security measures are not only implemented but also embraced by everyone in the organization.

Download this insider threat guide and share it with your employees to help educate them on the impact of insider threats and your strategy to help mitigate them.


bottom of page