Violence has become a growing problem in society, so it is important to take measures to prevent it in the workplace and protect the safety of your employees. It is one of the biggest causes of death in the workplace, with estimates of about 2 million cases of workplace violence every year, varying from physical and verbal abuse to homicides. Interestingly, 25 percent of these go unreported.
- Do background checks on new hires. Conduct a thorough background check on potential employees to reveal if they have a violent past. If you find something, ask for an explanation and ensure that it is consistent with the report.
- Create a harassment policy. This policy has to have a set of procedures addressing any workplace complaints in a private and efficient manner. As you create this policy, include the executives, managers and employees. Ensure that everyone is informed and that they every employee understands it.
- Have an effective line of communication. Give your employees access to conflict-resolution resources to make them feel more responsible to communicate. Also give them an open line of communication to the HR, management and other important members of the company.
- Develop training and awareness on workplace violence prevention. Conduct training sessions on how to respond to violent incidents. With proper training, a team member will have the confidence to properly and responsibly respond in any violent incident.
- Establish an anti-violence policy. Come up with firm policies that will empower your team to report harassing and violent behaviors and other danger signs. A policy like this can eliminate undesirable employee behaviors and leave no room for favoritism.
- Encourage employees to accept differences. Leadership style and personality difference are common in any workplace. Negate potential conflict by organizing activities to help the team know each other and acknowledge their unique differences.
- Prevent conflicts from escalating to violence or harassment. Tense situations like firings and layoffs can create anger. Prevent these incidents from turning into violence by alerting the staff and building security during events of angry departure so they can prepare for possible escalation.
- Manage visitors and have security monitoring. You can have security guards patrolling your facility, hiring a visitor check-in employee, or capturing video surveillance, these extra layers of security can deter a person who intends to perform a violent incident.
- Encourage everyone to report violent incidents. One way to prevent violence in the workplace is to establish trust between you and your employees. Make sure that your employees will be confident enough to report incidents and are assured that no retaliation will be made against them.
- Deter robbers with limited on-hand assets. Reduce the risk of robbery and potential violence by lessening the amount of assets in your facility. Install a locked drop safe and use electronic pay systems to reduce cash on hand. It also helps to ensure that your business is well-lit and is visited by law enforcement officers occasionally.
- Identify risk factors that can lead to violence. Assess your operation and be aware of potential factors that can lead to workplace violence. An employee who goes to work with personal stress has a potential to lash out in your business. These factors can include inadequate security, working while understaffed, if victims cannot properly report incidents, the perception that violence is tolerated, and many others.
Workplace violence is more common than most people think. The good news is that business owners can take measures to lessen and even prevent the impact of violence. If you know how to prevent it, you can be part of the solution that makes your business a much safer place for your employees.