While the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that workplace homicides have been declining over the last decade, the number of workplace assaults has grown. Health care and retail positions are most at risk, but no employer is immune.
Recent tragedies around the country have focused attention on the potential for violence all around us and especially in the workplace. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent violence, there are many strategies employers can take to minimize the risk.
There is no single prescription for reducing violence in the workplace.
These ten suggestions should be modified to best meet the needs of your organization:
- Foster a supportive, harmonious work environment.
Create a culture of mutual respect, open communication, support, and recognition.
- Train supervisors and employees on how to resolve conflicts.
Conflicts on the job can be reduced by developing employees’ negotiation skills.
- Develop effective policies to protect employees from all types of harassment.
A thorough policy defines harassment, specifies how to report it, explains how complaints will be investigated, and sets out the consequences.
- Establish procedures for handling grievances.
Employees need to understand grievance procedures for reporting complaints and feel confident that concerns will be addressed promptly and confidentially.
- Provide personal counseling through an employee assistance program.
An EAP provides employees with a free, easily accessible and confidential resource for addressing personal concerns.
- Implement security programs that protect employees.
Employers should regularly evaluate their security programs and make sure employees are aware of and understand existing security policies and procedures.
- Provide employee safety education programs.
Training can help raise the overall safety and health knowledge across the workforce so every employee understands the universal precautions for violence.
- Provide job counseling for employees who have been laid off or fired.
These services help exiting employees prepare for the future and cope with change.
- Train managers and supervisors on how to recognize signs of a troubled employee.
One way to reduce the potential for workplace violence is to intervene before an incident reaches a breaking point.
- Set up a threat assessment team.
Proactively putting a team together that is prepared to quickly respond in a crisis will help ensure the most effective management of an incident if a threat occurs.
Need help with your workplace violence prevention plan? MRA’s HR Advisors can talk through your prevention strategies!