Archive for the ‘Physical and Online Training’ Category

Christmas Blues – Workplace Violence

December 19th, 2016 Comments off

For many, the Christmas season is not filled with happiness. Remembering lost loved ones, and feelings of depression and loneliness can lead to behaviours that may be a cause for concern.

There is an increase in workplace violence during the months of December and January. Employers need to watch for signs that individuals may not be coping well.

Many firms also find themselves making year-end decisions related to employment levels. Downsizing is never a pleasant experience. During the Christmas season, it is important to pay particular attention if you are considering staff reductions. Individuals, who are already stressed, can feel a job loss is just one more thing they cannot handle.

You also need to take into consideration employees who no longer work for your company. Often the Christmas season will trigger individuals to act out. Many feel their job loss has resulted in their inability to provide gifts for loved ones. We have assisted numerous firms over the years where a terminated employee has acted out during the Christmas season, often targeting managers, supervisors, and co-workers.

Regardless of the season, you should pay attention to key dates that may be trigger points such as birthdays, date of hire or termination, and family members’ birthdays.

The office Christmas party can also be cause for concern. Bill 168 obligations are not just within your four office walls. Employers have a responsibility to ensure company events are treated in the same manner as in day-to-day operations. This recent article from HRM Canada may be of interest.

If you would like a complimentary copy of our Workplace Violence Guide, Click Here.

Protest Gone to the Dogs

September 27th, 2016 Comments off

In recent weeks, a video has emerged from the pipeline protests in the US where the Dakota Access Pipeline company attacked protesters with dogs as seen in this video.

Providing security support for any protest can be extremely challenging. Emotions often boil over, and actions can quickly escalate when a trigger event occurs. In order to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of all involved, a measured approach to security is required. Dogs are never a wise choice when dealing with protests. Many years ago, during a building trades strike in Canada, dogs were used to protect the property from protesters. The result was a PR disaster. The dogs became the protesters’ targets and were attacked and killed.

This unfortunate incident brought national attention for all the wrong reasons.

A security guard’s job is to observe, report, and deter those considering action, not to cause more problems. Video of guards fighting protesters is bad for business. Damage to your brand will be irreversible if such an incident occurs. In many cases, poorly trained guards can quickly escalate situations. Simple words can be the fuel needed to ignite a protest. Non-Violent Crisis Intervention training is vital.

When incidents make front-page news, it is not good for business. The key when dealing with any form of protest is to have a plan. Understanding the dynamics at play and how to manage them is crucial to your success. A balanced approach ensures people and properties are protected.



Where in the World is it Safe?

January 21st, 2016 Comments off

We all remember 9/11 and since that time terror attacks have increased from a couple times a year to almost a daily occurrence.  Some are small and others are on a much larger scale such as San Bernardino and Paris.  These events no longer happen in locations we have never heard of.  Places we used to deem as low risk are suddenly becoming targets.  What does this all mean to the security industry and travel risk management responsibilities?  Most likely there will be no more easy days.  When any emergency or crisis occurs, your ability to deal with the event is becoming increasingly important.

There are many considerations but it is important you have plans and processes in place.  These are a few key considerations:

  • Policies and Procedures – do you have guidelines in place for all employees? (travellers, expats and domestic personnel)
    • Most firms do but employees have not read them
  • Training – policies are wonderful but without training and awareness most employees do not fully understand why certain measures are in place and the importance
    • Use real life examples where possible
    • Running an exercise can be a great learning opportunity
  • Security Awareness – teaching people how to recognize and avoid risk is extremely important
    • If there is a protest do not go out to see what is happening
    • In Egypt a lot of folks went to the main square to witness history and some got caught up in police operations
  • Reporting – do your employees know how to report incidents and to whom?
    • Too often events could have been prevented with proper reporting
  • Travel Tracking – do you know where you people are and can you reach them?
    • Itinerary based tracking gives you a time and place but where are they right now
    • During the Paris attacks most firms only knew where employees should have been but had difficulty pin pointing their exact whereabouts
  • Communication – do you have the ability to provide mass messaging and receive responses from your people?
    • You will need to be able to ensure all personnel are accounted for and are ok
    • If you had 200 employees in country how would you communicate?
    • Some of our clients spent days reaching all their employees
  • Medical and Security Response – you may need to support those injured and evacuate others to a safe area
  • During a crisis is not the time to be securing resources or finding out your current vendor cannot assist
  • Do your homework

Understanding your gaps well in advance of any crisis is key.  Murphy’s Law will most definitely rear its ugly head at some point.  Your duty of care and moral obligations to staff will be under scrutiny.  How you respond will be watched and a poor reaction will rattle your employees’ confidence.  A well thought out response will show employees you not only care but also are prepared.

Practice Makes Perfect

October 19th, 2015 Comments off

I recently took part in an active shooter exercise and it was a great learning experience.

The people that attended the exercise were made up of security, human resources, legal and HS&E professionals. The scenario involves 15 employees attending an event at a US hotel where a gunman enters, an employee gets killed and two are seriously injured.  The remaining employees are accounted for with the exception of two that are missing.

Everyone participating in the exercise had a representative from each discipline. We had to work together as a team to manage the crisis and emergency response. As you can imagine, we encountered many challenges. The team went to work and developed an initial action plan with a critical goal of protecting and caring for our people.

Those in human resources and HS&E engaged a third party travel risk management vendor. They were tasked with getting 12 uninjured staff to a safe place and evacuated once the situation stabilized. The travel risk team also engaged medical professionals who were able to coordinate first aid response for the injured. Employees at the hotel received instructions from medical professionals on how to stabilize the injured until EMS could enter the site.

The security team immediately notified the company’s security operations centre. The regional security manager was directed to travel to the area and set up a temporary command centre in a nearby hotel. Law enforcement was contacted and informed. The travel risk management vendor was also asked to dispatch crisis coordinators to work with the regional security manager.

Legal and compliance personnel briefed senior management and engaged the crisis communication vendor. Communication with the employees’ families was initiated. It was decided that the senior managers would attend the homes of families of the deceased and injured to lend support. Insurance firms were notified and thresholds for coverage reviewed. Risk managers began to access exposure to liability and determine the best course of action to mitigate risk. Communication experts also prepared external communication messaging.

We quickly learned despite all our combined expertise, that we were ill prepared to manage the crisis. The need to have a detailed plan became quite clear.  We were making numerous decisions on the fly with no real clear guidelines or objectives.

In the end, the police cleared the site within 8 hours. EMS moved in and assisted the injured. The travel risk firm’s doctor was critical in instructing the uninjured to care for the injured until EMS could move into place. The regional security manager and crisis responders were able to communicate with the uninjured staff and get them to a secure place once the police had cleared the hotel. Transportation and airfare were coordinated to return folks home. It became clear, that practice makes perfect. If you have not practiced responding to an emergency – do so. It will be a tremendous learning experience.


Preparing for the Risk

July 29th, 2015 Comments off

I recently worked on an interesting file regarding a potential threat of workplace violence. We were contacted regarding the termination of a male employee. This individual was in the middle of a nasty divorce and his work performance had declined considerably. There were concerns regarding his behaviour. The individual was becoming emotionally unstable and aggressive towards others. Management took these concerns seriously and attempted to provide support and assistance. Unfortunately this fell on deaf ears. A decision was made to exit the employee. I was contacted to develop a strategy to mitigate the risk should the termination not proceed in a positive manner. After gathering the background details the following recommendations were made:

  • Post termination security which would monitor the exterior access points

The concern was that the employee might attempt to access the facility or seek revenge against managers and coworkers outside of the workplace.

The client reviewed the options and arranged for a call to discuss them and make a final decision on a plan. The client elected to monitor social media for a period of 30 days and engage the recommended security components. They chose not to engage in surveillance unless there was an increase in risk. There was a concern that if the surveillance was detected it would lead to an increased likelihood of legal action. The client’s management team debated the risk posed versus the potential legal implications. These types of debates are common. The challenge is what happens if the employee elects to target coworkers and management and an incident occurred, would manage be found negligent based on the fact they had concerns but elected not to proceed. This is always a difficult question to answer.

We commenced with the plan. Our social monitoring uncovered some open source posts that raised some red flags.  Most of the posts touched on the employee’s troubles and how he felt wronged. The tone was of someone who could possibly lash out if a negative event should occur.

The termination proceeded as planned and the protection agent escorted the employee to his vehicle at which point he exited without issue, other then a heated verbal outburst directed at the human resources manager. The employee was told to not return to the facility or have any contact with the staff. Unfortunately two days after his termination, he returned. Security intervened and successfully de-escalated the situation. The employee claimed he had items he needed to return. This was despite the fact the client had provided instruction and prepaid courier pickup for the items belonging to the company. After the termination, outplacement and support services were present to ensure the employee had resources and a safety net.

No one knows what the employee’s intentions were the day when he was intercepted by security. Was this a man down on his luck only seeking to return the company’s belongings or did he have something very different on his mind.

Too many times in the recent past we have read about situations where things have gone horribly wrong.

Social media monitoring has been ongoing for this individual and although his posts were of concern, it appears the individual has come to grips with his situation for the time being. None of the posts warranted police involvement.

We advised the client to pay special attention to key dates, which may trigger future events. These dates include:

  • Date of hire
  • Date of termination
  • Birthdays

Workplace violence and managing terminations continues to be a challenge for security and human resources staff. Balancing the risk versus the probability of an incident is never easy. No employer wants to feel heavy handed and disrespectful but you also never want to be without a plan incase you need to respond to a risk.

Labour Disputes – Domino Effect

May 2nd, 2012 Comments off

Recently a strike by an auto parts supplier caused the shutdown of the minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario. Was this part of an overall strategy leading up to tough labour talks with the Big 3 in 2012 or a case of union member’s expectations not matching what could be offered. Based on comments in the media by Chrysler’s CEO Sergio Marchionne, it appears labour talks could be challenging. The question is will the union go on strike and risk potential future investment or find a way to secure a new deal. In the past, large automotive firms did not develop large scale contingency plans to stand a work stoppage by union members. Is this about to change? The past has proven that some checks and balances need to be in place for the unions not to find themselves in the same situation they faced in 2008 with the collapse of the industry. Previously management simply avoided large scale work stoppages in favour of reaching a deal. Will 2012 see management take a more aggressive stance to ensure long term sustainability? If a more aggressive stance is going to be considered, contingency planning will be critical to ensure all risks are considered and possible mitigation strategies put in place.

Labour Disputes to Become More Aggressive and Radical?

April 17th, 2012 Comments off

A recent article written by union activists and the Occupy Movement reviewed the outcome of some high profile strikes in Canada in the past few years. The overall theme is that organized labour needs to become more aggressive and radical. Plant occupations, storming of government buildings, and targeting business and political leaders are just a few of the suggestions being made. What does this mean from a security prospective? Is this a return of days gone by? Management will need to build robust contingency plans to mitigate the potential risks of these new tactics. Not only will security need to be considered, but crisis communication will also become a very important facet of any future contingency plan.

Blog Crisis Communication

April 5th, 2012 Comments off

Can management use the old tried, tested and true “no comment” when responding to difficult strike or lock out related issues?

Unions are now using communication firms to drive their key messages, not only to striking workers but to elected officials and members of the community.

With social media becoming widely used it is critical for management to ensure they take control of the message. Union activists and elected officials often use fear and misinformation to garner attention.

As part of your overall contingency plan a greater emphasis needs to be placed on a new kind of protest; one that doesn’t involve traditional pickets. The new form of protest is to engage the masses through social media. Damage to your brand and reputation can be accomplished effortlessly with a simply tweet or Facebook posting.

Too many times I hear, “we won’t speak to the media,” or “no comment.” Management typically reacts by engaging legal counsel. This only aids the union as it creates a David and Goliath scenario.

The public then wonders what they are hiding.  In order to achieve objectives the old rules of crisis communication need to change.

Union Flash Mob

March 1st, 2012 Comments off

Are union tactics changing? Have the rules changed when it comes to protests and picketing? Recently the USW and Occupy Toronto gathered for a flash mob at the BMO Building. The union was on strike for an extended period and was becoming increasingly frustrated. As a result members of the union and the occupy movement held a gathering to bring attention to their cause. What security challenges will this present in the future? Contingency plans will now need to take into consideration additional security threats as well as potential damage to the brand caused by such events. A greater focus on security will need to be placed on secondary locations as such head offices, affiliated locations, suppliers as well as financial institutions that provide funding to operate these organizations. In addition to security requirements, there is also a growing need for crisis communication expertise. Because many of these actions are mobilized rapidly, the ability to communicate to both internal and external stakeholders in real time will be necessary.

IMAC Online Training Launches a $10,000 Contest Giveaway!

January 31st, 2012 Comments off

Facebook fans of IMAC Online Training Academy will have a chance to win one of 10 $1,000 vouchers towards online courses.  To celebrate the newest HRCI approved courses, IMAC fans will have an opportunity to win the opportunity to take an entire suite of courses related to workplace violence, nonviolent confrontation management, safe terminations, crisis communications, guidelines for crossing picket lines, strike security and preparation, truck hijacking, armed robbery response…and many other courses for HR training and security training.


Click here to enter and view the contest details.


Why keep up with your continuing education?

Dr. Paula Caligiuri discusses Advancing Your Career Skills on CNN Newsroom. Dr. Caligiuri is a professor of Human Resource Management at Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations.

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