Companies are quickly coming to the realization that a workplace violence prevention policy is a necessity today in both large and small businesses. Liability does not just apply to big companies. And it is not good enough to just have a workplace violence prevention plan or a crisis management team that is aware of the plan and some of the managers and supervisors understand it. Every employee should be trained in the fundamental concepts of the plan and aggressive behavior recognition. They must also understand that in order for the workplace violence prevention plan to actually work, they all are required to know the warning signs of what might be violence precursors and that they have the responsibility to report the conduct or observation.
Workplace violence includes:
- Violent crimes which occur in the workplace
- Violence from a client or customer directed at an employee in the workplace
- Aggressive behavior or bullying from one employee to another
- Violence from former employees returning to the workplace or acting out after termination
- Domestic relationship based violence happening at the workplace
Regardless of the nature of the incident, you are trying to prevent the conditions which typically lead to these occurrences from going unchecked. Those circumstances are most often seen by the employees and not always seen by supervisors or managers. All employees have to be taught how to recognize the ‘aggressive behavior’ early warning signs of workplace violence and to whom they should report those observations and concerns. The people who know what is going on daily are the ones who will most likely be negatively affected by it. They are the ones in the best position to avert this behavior in its early stages. Reporting the conduct so that proper measures can be taken to modify the behavior is the only chance of preventing a violent incident. They know who is having domestic partner problems. They know who is being bullied at work. They know the habitually difficult customers. They usually know where the most exposure to crime is within the workplace. Tap that resource. Let them know that they have a discrete reporting responsibility. Then supervisors and managers must follow through and investigate for further action. Just as with any other security condition, the employees are the eyes and ears to what is really going on.
For more about Workplace Violence Prevention strategies and help with educating managers, supervisors, and employees, check out the educational programs here.