Nobody wants to think of their workplace as unsafe.
As an employer, you have a vested interest in keeping your employees (not to mention yourself) as well as your company safe. Harassment and discrimination training is a great first step in preventing incidents and encouraging early reporting. However, your training likely doesn’t cover a terrifying new reality: workplace violence.
Check out these articles by Business Management Daily. The first discusses the rising number of assault cases. The line between assault and harassment is a thin one, and assault settlements have the potential to grow infinitely higher than harassment settlements.
This article (also by Business Management Daily) discusses 4 specific ways that workplace violence has increased over time, including violence against women, gun violence, cyberbullying, and inadequate use of hiring tools.
What Does My Workplace Violence Training Need to Address?
The Important Early Warning Signs and Reporting
It’s very rare that no one sees any warning signs before an act of violence occurs. Usually employees had some sense that something was “off” about the perpetrating employee, even if they couldn’t quite but a finger on what it was. Your workplace violence training should emphasize the importance of reporting these signs – while one employees “off” feeling may not be valuable information, dozens of employees reporting the same individual would be a huge red flag. Reporting is the most critical piece, so your program should also include an employee awareness component that makes it clear how to report incidents. Reporting information should remain easily accessible even after the initial awareness campaign, whether via flyers, posters, or a dedicated area on the company intranet.
Fear of Retaliation
Worse yet, employees may avoid reporting early warning signs for fear of retaliation. The workplace violence training you choose should address this fear, how to report signs of retaliation anonymously, as well as different examples of what retaliation may look like.
Threat Response Plan
Your managers will need a clear plan of action in case reports about an individual escalate. The goal is to stop the individual before a violent incident occurs. While it’s important to move quickly, your managers should be cautioned against rapid fire action. Terminating a dangerous employee brings about a set of circumstances very different from the usual termination, which is already unpleasant enough. The ideal plan involves a workplace violence professional to assess the employee’s mental state and plan where to go from there. Many acts of workplace violence occur years after the termination, but this risk can be mitigated by involving a mental health expert with workplace violence threat experience.
Remember: workplace violence training is cheaper than even one incident of violence. The financial and human costs, not to mention the damage to your reputation, aren’t worth it. How is your company mitigating the risk of workplace violence? Tell us in the comments!
PS: Generally I don’t include articles that aren’t specific to corporate working environments, but the author here makes a great point – military personnel are always at work, which makes this topic particularly relevant to them. So while it’s not business specific, you might still find this to be a very interesting read.
For More About Harassment and Discrimination Training, Check Out These Resources:
- Blog: How to Make Sure Your Sexual Harassment Training Program Isn’t a Miserable Disaster
- Blog: Sexual Harassment Training: Applications in Life Outside of Work
- Blog: Sexual Harassment Training and the Importance of Subtlety
ON DEMAND WEBINAR | Good Employees Behaving Badly – Workplace Harassment & Discrimination
In this complimentary on-demand webinar hosted by The Network, legal expert Raanon Gal from FordHarrison LLP will explain what defines harassment in the workplace and its detrimental effect on both employees and the organization at large. You will learn how the proper communication of strong anti-harassment policies is crucial to keeping your enterprise free of wrong behavior. Raanon will show us how effective training programs can educate employees and lessen the risks of harassment and discrimination claims, and how bad training can actually increase your risks. Raanon will also discuss how best to investigate these issues.
Watch On-Demand Today!