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Liz Asokan: On what it takes to lead a security company from the heart

May Day Awards 2023 recipient Liz Asokan on navigating the security industry with compassion.

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By Jaime Lee Yuan Ching 06 Jun 2023
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Managing a company, ensuring workers get benefits, implementing a five-day work week: Prospect Protection Managing Director Liz Asokan has done it all. But how does the May Day Award winner handle leading while having her employees' interests at heart?


Liz believes that challenging the status quo and ensuring the welfare of security officers are the things that drive her to push for better working conditions in her company.


“Our core business is manpower. We are doing well because of our people. Thus, they are our driving force. Paying it forward and seeing the impact we could make in changing people’s lives, as well as making sure that they are being cared for, is a key driving force for us,” she said.


A partnership that benefits all


Liz has collaborated with the Union of Security Employees (USE) to ensure five- and six-day work patterns to allow her employees more rest time.


Touching on her experience of working with USE, she feels that USE has been helpful and insightful.


“We're seeing how happy officers are, and they have more family quality time.


“We’re very impressed with the way USE fights for the wellbeing of their members.  They provide us with advice, especially for any grievances from the officers. It is like a safety net for the officers; they feel like they're not alone,” she said.


Liz also works closely with USE on wage issues to maximise benefits for her company.


She added: “When there are any changes, any restructuring of salary structure in terms of benefits, we come up with frameworks and share them with USE. USE reassures us that they are there for us.”


The future of the security industry


With Prospect Protection approaching 40 years in the security industry, Liz hopes to keep prioritising the growth and development of workers’ work prospects and foster a sense of pride amongst workers.


“Our aim is to maintain a culture that values humanity and create a sustainable and fulfilling environment where everyone is treated equally with respect,” she said.


As a recipient of the Medal of Commendation at the May Day Awards, Liz believes that it is not only leadership but team effort that took home the recognition.


“This recognition signifies the collective efforts of our team in promoting the welfare and well-being of employees. It reinforces the importance of our work and inspires us to continue serving our people and the community.”


Leading as a woman


Liz also reflects on being a female leader in a male-dominated industry.


She said: “There is this creeping pressure to prove yourself worthy of respect. There are many expectations of what a woman would or wouldn't be, should or shouldn't be. Especially as a leader. At the end of the day, leadership as a woman means constantly needing more energy to brush away all the stereotypes and get the job done at the same time.


“I believe it is crucial to stay true to yourself, not succumb to the pressure of conforming to expectations and confronting issues with empathy and authenticity.”


Ensuring everyone stays employed


The COVID-19 pandemic proved tough for Prospect Protection to keep everyone employed, and the issue of reducing manpower loomed.


We had clients who would come to us and say that they wanted to reduce our 50 per cent of the manpower because they want to cut costs. But we did not want anyone to lose their job,” she recalled.


Liz and her team were determined to make things work.


She said: “No one is going to lose their job, and no one will be left behind. Not only are they not going to lose their job, but they are also not going to have any salary reduction. We were proud of ourselves that we retained a 100 per cent retention rate with no salary reduction.”


She credits her team for their dedication and staying motivated.


I am fortunate to have a supportive team that stands together, irrespective of challenges we face. We believe in equality, mutual respect, and never leaving anyone behind.”