According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, murder comes in as the fourth main cause of fatal injuries in the workplace, making workplace violence a very petrifying reality of the 21st century. That is why workplace violence is a topmost security concern for employers and employees alike.
Types of workplace violence vary and can include: homicide, threats, harassment, and verbal and physical attacks. We will explore the reasons why people may become displeased and will provide helpful ways to protect your employees and clients from workplace violence.
Why Workplace Violence Occurs
Potentially perilous or displeased persons come in all ages and from varying socioeconomic backgrounds. They may be employees, customers, or even relatives of employees or customers. Culprits of workplace violence can range from belligerent individuals who feel slighted to people suffering from mental health issues.
Here are a few reasons why violence happens in the workplace:
- a) A thorough background investigation is not conducted on employees, which could have revealed a ferocious criminal past or abusive history
- b) Employees bring personal issues with them instead of focusing on work while at work
- c) The company does not have a hotline to report belligerent behavior or for employees to express concerns.
- d) There is a lack of security consciousness, planning, or preparation to prevent security issues. By providing caring support for your employees, you can reduce the risk of violence in the workplace.
What You Can Do About It
Some executives do not believe that violence could ever happen at their establishment. However, that mentality can eventually lead to a lack of preparedness. As an alternative, employers should implement a security consciousness and awareness that trickles down to the employees through policy and training. Here are a few concepts to increase security at your workplace.
Always Conduct Background Checks
Did the time ever exist when an employer could just hire someone on an impulse? Doing so in the 21st century can not only lead to a bad hire, but it can also be deadly and lead to luxurious legal combats. When signing employees, make sure your personnel always conduct felonious background checks on potential employees. Contact references and probe them with open-ended questions to prompt honest responses about the safety of the potential employee’s behavior.
Communicate with Employees Fairly
Miscommunication and perceived unfairness are major causes of conflict in many types of relationships, including working ones. To address this, create an employee hotline so that employees who feel wronged or hurt have a proper vent to channel their rage. If you have a hire that is not working out, communicate through performance appraisals, and document your discussions. Also, stay positive yet firm whenever possible in your communications with the employee. It is best to have more than one professional in the room when dealing with potentially dissatisfied employees.
Be Mindful When Laying off Workers
Many employees plan to dedicate their working years to a single company in exchange for a retirement pension plan and associated bonuses. Therefore, when employers lay off people who have put in significant time at their company, they will almost always be met with repercussions. That is why it is vital to be mindful when laying off workers.
Instead of laying off long-term employees without any preceding notice, consider giving them time to find other jobs. When possible communicate with them early about the reasons and explain clearly when their last day will be and the amount of any compensation package. Remember to consider the timing of the separation. It would be unwise to lay off workers two days before Christmas if you are trying to prevent added hostility and tension.