Four core values are of utmost importance to the livelihood and culture at The Brink’s Company—integrity, safety, quality and trust.  Chairman, President and CEO of The Brink’s Company, Michael Dan, holds trust in the highest regard.

“I say trust is first, [because] people give us their money. Think about that,” he said.  “So, it’s really important to have high ethics, because people don’t give you their money unless they trust you.”

Core Values: Integrity, Safety, Quality and Trust

Dan said that the nature of The Brink’s Company-- as a security and protection company that provides security services to banks, retailers, governments --necessitates the importance of having a culture built upon the aforementioned values.  “What makes us different from any logistics company is that you give us something, you say the value is ‘X,’ and whatever ‘X’ is that we chose to accept (it could be up to $1 billion), and if we lose it, we have to write you a check.”

The Brink’s Company’s culture of shared integrity and trust starts with the people who are recruited to be employees, according to Dan. 

“At the end of the day, the employees are the ones on the front lines,” he said.  What makes The Brink’s Company unique is that while the nature of front-line employees’ work is candidly regarded as dangerous, the company truly believes and demonstrates that its employees are the most valuable asset, not the valuables that they protect. 

“It’s why we come to work every day…to make sure that every night our co-workers go home safe to their families,” Dan explained.  “And, unfortunately, sometimes they don’t, and I view that as a management failure; we didn’t do enough for that man or woman to go home to their family that night.”

Feeding a Culture of Integrity

Dan sees the paramount importance of his employees’ livelihoods as partially-responsible for creating the company’s culture of integrity.

“The magic to our business is that our employees’ lives are more important than what their job duties are, which is to protect the valuables,” he said.  “I can self-insure the money, I can buy insurance for the money (I do both).  What I can’t do is reproduce an employee.”

“So, we take care of our employees, and they know that we care about them and their safety more than anything else,” Dan said.  “They’ll take care of our customer’s valuables.”

The Brink’s Company’s employees have certainly proven their commitment to protecting their customers’ valuables.  Dan recalled the devastating disaster of Hurricane Katrina and how employees at The Brink’s Company’s branch in New Orleans, Louisiana, responded.

“We sent a helicopter after the storm to go check on our facility, and the first thing that we found out was that it wasn’t underwater.  The second thing that we found was that the branch was surrounded by armed individuals, and so that was very disconcerting to us,” he said. 

Dan advised his cohorts to locate the branch manager and take him up to survey the situation.  The manager told the pilots that the armed individuals outside of the building were The Brink’s Company’s own employees who came to protect their place of employment. 

“So they left their families in that chaos to protect their place of work, because they recognized businesses had been destroyed and jobs were going to be lost. They wanted to make sure their job wasn’t going to be lost,” he said.

“I’m not sure that individuals can take credit for that. That’s the culture of this company.”

Giving Employees a Voice

The Brink’s Company rewards their employees’ dedication and has several methods in which employees can vocalize concerns, should an issue at work arise.  In all 66 countries in which The Brink’s Company operates, monthly speak-outs are conducted where employees control the conversation.  Management is required to respond to employees during the speak-out.

“Believe it or not, for every single branch in this country and in Canada, the speak-out reports come across my desk, and I look and see what employees are asking and what management’s responses are.”

When Dan conducts his intentionally-unannounced branch visits, he reads up on these reports.  “The [speak-out reports] could be faked, so when I go visit with these branches on these surprise visits, I always ask for the last six months of speak-out reports and the last 6-months of the branch manager reports,” he said. 

“So I know what I should be hearing from the employees, what their concerns are. Do they match or not?  [This tells me] whether the system is working or not.”

The Brink’s Company also has a direct access program in place in which employees may fill out mailers vocalizing concerns that are sent to Dan himself.  The employees have the option to respond anonymously.

If the employee’s report is urgent, The Brink’s Company dispatches an ambassador, who meets with the employee in their own home to personally address their concerns.  “Some people say to me ‘why do you do that?’  It’s because of every other employee in that branch. If you want to know whether that system works or not, this employee just enabled us to demonstratively show that, if you raise a serious issue, somebody from outside of the chain-of-command will show up.” 

Strategic Plan: People, Maximization, Solutions and Long-Term Investment

The Brink’s Company organizes their company vision in the form of a strategic plan crafted anew every five years.  The strategic plan aims to answer ‘What’s our vision, and where are we going?’  “We report twice a year to our Board of Directors on our strategic plan,” Dan explained.

The first goal of The Brink’s Company’s strategic plan is to recruit and retain the best employees, all while implementing the best training processes possible.  The second goal of core maximization is aimed at examining the business every day and determining how to be more efficient and effective the next day.

The core of The Brink’s Company is solution logistics, and it is their third goal in the strategic plan.  “You can’t do step three if you don’t have the right people,” he said.  “Get the right people. Then you can have core maximization. Then you can become part of the solutions business.”

The final proponent of the strategic plan is long-term investment, which is manifested by actions like introducing new product lines.  The company is also actively identifying adjacencies companies.  In 2011, The Brink’s Company bought Canadian payroll company Threshold Technologies.  “We’ve gotten into the back-office of banks and utilities, and we are doing more and more processing work. 

“We’re moving up the technology ladder and creating more and more capabilities inside the company so that somebody can write The Brink’s Company’s 175th History Book.   It won’t be me. I’ll be retired.”

The Brink’s Company currently operates in 66 countries worldwide with 70,000 employees as a global leader in security-related services.  Projected sales of $4 billion are being reported for 2011.  Michael Dan is a member of the Robins School of Business Executive Advisory Council and will be featured in this month’s C-Suite Conversations on November 17, 2011, from 7:30 - 9 am in Queally Hall. Register for this event.