Too many managers think that terminating an employee who has unacceptable aggression issues will end the problem. If handled poorly, it may just be the beginning of a more serious one. When a termination becomes necessary because of workplace aggression problems, the event needs to be planned carefully.
The process begins with early recognition of aggressive or violent prone tendencies. This is the responsibility of the entire workforce. They must first take note of the conduct and then follow through to report it. If such behavior is noted early enough and appropriately addressed, a termination may be avoided by getting that person the help needed to change the behavior.
All employees, supervisors, and assessment team members must know their roles in the organization’s workplace violence avoidance policy. Employees and supervisors must be trained to recognize and report problem behavior. The assessment team must then begin the process of analyzing all of the accumulated data to reveal the severity of the problem. Denying the significance of certain conduct in order to ‘avoid confrontation’ or failing to ‘connect the dots’ are phrases often heard after a violent incident to describe what went wrong. Frequently, people talk about past statements or behavioral indicators, which at the time seemed trivial, but could have served as a warning if correlated correctly.
If termination is unavoidable, the goal is to make the unpleasant experience more tolerable for the individual through fairness, understanding, and discretion. Conduct the termination in a manner that takes away their desire to either respond violently, or return later and commit some violent act of revenge. Keeping this goal in mind, seek the help of threat assessment and security professionals who can assist with the termination planning. It’s been written that violence is not an event as much as a process. Therefore, to prevent violence you must recognize the process and address all of its phases. This means taking appropriate precautions before the termination, during the termination, and afterwards.
I am frequently asked, “What should be included in our corporate executive protection program?” or, “What should a company like ours have for executive protection standards?” The fact is that executive protection programs must fit the specific company culture and the personalities of the specific executive(s) involved. To arbitrarily try to benchmark against other similar size companies, or even companies within your industry, is not the best approach.
There are many variables to consider which will affect the need and acceptance for the program. If a dedicated executive security program is deemed unnecessary or excessive it will not be accepted by those who must engage in it every day. These variables include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Corporate culture regarding security
• The executive’s perception on their need for personal close protection
• The concern with their personal and corporate image
• The profile of the executive/how recognizable they are
• Any public relations controversy in your industry
• Any controversy surrounding your specific company
• Size of company
• Recent events which bring negative media attention
• The support of your board of directors
Though no company wants to see anything happen to any of their executives, they are all wary of the questions that revolve around how much security is appropriate and who should be afforded such special treatment. This is especially true in public companies. The best approach is one that is driven by a balance of realistic risk assessment against cost and public perception concerns. A lot will depend on whether this effort is supported by the board.
There are many components of a complete executive protection program, not all of which may be necessary for every company. A realistic third party assessment, along with some honest discussions with the executives themselves is a great starting point. No executive envisions themselves as a target – but someone else might. The security professional must somehow quantify the likelihood of such targeting and any related vulnerabilities, and then convince the executive team of the real economic risk to the organization. This is the ROI of prevention. Only then can you design an effective EP plan that stays within a justifiable budget, doesn’t go overboard and will be adhered to on a daily basis by those involved.