Leadership

M.R. Asks 3 Questions: Keith Metcalfe, CEO, Traction Guest

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Helping organizations enhance in-person connections while working in adjusted, contactless workspaces is what CEO Keith Metcalfe and his teams at Traction Guests have turned their focus to.

With 20 years of experience working in enterprise software and identifying strategic trends, Keith is now using his expertise to help businesses transform their visitor management with emerging technology that will significantly improve their physical and data security worldwide.

Our conversation about how to functionally maintain a productive workspace while protecting our teams and clients was very insightful. Thank you, Keith! 

 

M.R. Rangaswami: You’re predicting an “invite-first culture” in light of the COVID-19 crisis. What does that mean and how do you see businesses adopting this approach?

Keith Metcalfe: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, managing entry, access and population at facilities prioritized convenience over safety. Now, managing visitors and employees onsite is about health and safety first. Location-specific safety protocols, risk assessments and compliance requirements are in constant flux as government mandates change. To deal with all of this, an “invite-first” culture is taking root – it’s increasingly customary for employees and visitors to be invited and vetted ahead of a scheduled visit to a workplace. I predict it will endure post-pandemic. 

Gone are the days of visiting an office or facility without consistently following mandated (and common-sense) health, safety and security precautions. This is more pronounced in essential services, where people can’t do their jobs remotely, and in highly regulated industries such as manufacturing, food and beverage and healthcare. However, all businesses are now faced with higher risk mitigation standards – as they reopen, they must address visitors and employees as one universal risk management challenge. Everyone is a guest, and everyone poses a potential risk. 

To bring invite-first culture to life, companies will re-evaluate their policies for screening and access of employees and visitors. Onsite sign-in without prior vetting of access criteria will become the exception, not the norm. All people entering the premises will be thoroughly pre-screened according to best practices before they enter a facility.

To reassure employees and visitors that they are in a safe workplace, organizations must not only create health and safety protocols but enforce them. An invite-first culture is key to institutionalizing a health-and- safety-first reality. 

 

M.R.: What are the key ways Traction Guest is becoming an essential part of business for enterprises?

Keith: Reopening will be a challenging journey for many organizations. It’s our mission to help businesses get back to work safely while building connection in the new contactless workplace. Everyone on premises must feel they’re in a secure environment where their health and safety are paramount. After all, a protected workplace is a productive workplace.

We’ve long helped regulated industries meet stringent compliance and safety requirements for people entering their worksites. Today, we’re helping keep the wheels of commerce turning. 

Our technology makes it possible for large organizations with complex security requirements to manage the safe, contactless return of employees and visitors to the workplace. Safety standards are rapidly evolving across all industries as a result of the global pandemic. The Traction Guest team is constantly innovating sophisticated, customizable solutions that enable enterprises to meet mandates and conduct business safely onsite. 

For example, touchless sign-in must no longer be optional, but rather a health-standards-driven requirement. We were far along in developing this essential health and safety functionality for our visitor and employee management platform when the pandemic hit, so we were able to get it into the hands of enterprises quickly. It’s an efficient, fully contactless sign-in experience that eliminates the need for visitors and employees to interact with a company representative. And we’ve made our touchless sign-in extremely secure.

Unique QR codes verify each person’s identity and eligibility to enter at the point of access, like airports do, and don’t allow people to sign-in remotely without verification, like non-secure mobile app-based solutions do. People have to be where they say they are, who they say they are, and have passed custom pre-screening criteria to be granted entry. 

 

M.R.: How do you think this pandemic will impact the C-suite? Are you seeing greater influence of Physical Security and EHS (Environment, Health and Safety) leaders on corporate strategy?

Keith: In response to COVID-19, the C-suite is more focused on physical security than ever before. They recognize that insufficient health and safety protocols expose not just their people but their businesses to grave risk. In light of the pandemic’s impact on business continuity, it became crystal clear that the physical security leader’s role in managing people and property risks can positively or negatively impact revenue streams. The C-suite’s perception around individuals in this role is rapidly shifting.

Since the pandemic, physical security has been rising to the same prominence as cybersecurity, in some cases receiving even more attention from the C-suite. Physical security and EHS leaders – tasked with keeping facilities safe and operational during the pandemic – now have clout, propelled to the role of “revenue preservers” for their businesses.

Historically, they were relegated to being the “guns, gates and guards” of the business. Now these professionals are viewed as first-order strategic, earning their seat at the table alongside cybersecurity leaders whose value to the bottom line solidified over the past decade.

The C-suite realizes that for short and long term business success, physical security must be part of corporate strategy and that physical security leaders are key contributors to enterprise risk management and contingency planning.

 
 
M.R. Rangaswami is the Co-Founder of SandHill.com

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