Every year, millions of workers complain about workplace violence in and outside work. Violence in the workplace can include verbal abuse, threats, physical assaults, stalking, or weapon use. So why is violence an issue in the workplace? Many factors contribute to this, such as low productivity, stress, or boredom.1
According to the Department of Labor, some indicators or early warning signs of employees who could disrupt the workplace typically include being consistently late, low performance, concentration issues, low=easily agitated mood/depression, substance abuse, and/or poor hygiene.2
Four types of workplace violence occur3:
The criminal has no business relationship with the workplace. Crimes include robbery or related criminal acts.
The criminal is a current or former client of the business.
The criminal has some employment related to the place of business.
The criminal does not work at the business but has a personal relationship with an employee.
How can you prevent this in your workplace? Check out some keyways to ensure a safe work environment for everyone:
Have Employee Support Services
Various employee support services can make employees feel safer and well-equipped. Such support includes having a counselor on hand, access to union representatives, or resource referral services.2
Create a Plan for Emergency Response
The more prepared your employees are, the better off they will be. In recent years, active shooter training has been the number one type of preparedness. Though this is heavily pushed in schools, it is also excellent training for the workplace. Ensure employees know what to do in the event their supervisor or boss is injured. Create an emergency phone list employees can access.2 Also consider signing your work up for a workplace violence prevention program from an outside consultant or resource.
Provide Training for Anti-Harassment
Anti-harassment training is required for some places of business. Typically, employers can do this on their own time over video training. Many states require anti-harassment training for employers. Along with providing anti-harassment training, it’s important to monitor it and see if employees feel safer because of it. This can be measured by surveys, to see if less complaints are being sent to your HR department, or by simply asking how they feel about the training.4
Get to Know Your Coworkers
This is the easiest way to prevent violence. Check in and talk with your coworkers daily. The more you get to know your coworkers, the more comfortable you will be to voice concerns. It’s also good to build strong relationships with coworkers to create an effective workplace. As HR you can implement a social activities committee that hosts monthly events during the workday (like lunches or holiday celebrations) that allow for teambuilding and socializing amongst different departments. These activities help employees get to know one another better and can help decrease your organizations overall risk of employee violence. Not to mention help to boost morale and increase employee satisfaction and retention!
You may not agree on some things outside of work, but while you’re stuck in the same building for eight hours, you might as well make the most of it. The more a workplace can trust each other, the less the chance of a serious incident will occur.