Would your employees tell you if they felt harassed or threatened on the job? Many professionals hesitate to report incidents of violence in the workplace, and for a surprising number of reasons.
Given the rash of highly publicized crimes committed in workplaces across the country, it should come as no surprise that a recent study found over 60% of employees fear theft or physical violence in the office, according to Talk Business Magazine.
The fear of retaliation from the office oddball or bully often stops workers from reporting inappropriate or even dangerous behavior to an authority figure, even though he or she is often the one most capable of effectively dealing with the situation. The stigma of becoming the “office snitch” also convinces many employees to hold their silence, hindering potential investigations and resolutions.
An employee might also hesitate to report instances of workplace violence due to the possibility of an increased workload. Reporting an incident that leads to another employee’s termination can upset the careful distribution of tasks, ultimately creating more work for specific individuals or the staff as a whole.
And other employees will let instances of violence or inappropriate behavior slide simply to avoid garnering the resentment of their co-workers.
However, firms can take a variety of measures to educate and train their employees about how to identify problems and remain safe in the face of hostile conditions, ultimately creating safer and more productive work environments.
1. Establish a Concrete Definition
Workplace violence exists within a broad spectrum, ranging from a disruptive but harmless disregard for authority to assault and physical aggression. By clearly defining behavioral boundaries and the consequences of violating them, businesses can establish a solid foundation for a safer and more relaxed work environment.
2. Properly Train Your Staff
Thorough training programs equip employees with the necessary skills and tools to respond to violent or inappropriate workplace behavior. Training also effectively communicates company policies and procedures that address violence in the workplace.
3. Do Your Homework
Conducting preemptive investigations of potential new hires serves as another preliminary step to reduce workplace crime and violence. Background checks and references assess whether a prospective employee has a history of violent incidents or inappropriate behavior that might follow them into a new workplace.
4. Utilize Technology
By incorporating high-tech security devices, such as CCTV systems, into the workplace, authority figures can spot instances of violence and crime that once occurred behind closed doors. This step also lifts the burden of proof from your employees’ shoulders, eliminating the need for them to personally alert their superiors to a coworker’s misdoings.
Additionally, indisputable video evidence serves as a very powerful disincentive to potential troublemakers. As the potential for violence decreases, employee comfort and productivity will consequently rise.
5. Don’t Go it Alone
All the above measures will help, but addressing workplace safety can still confound even the most competent managers. The array of moving parts and the idiosyncrasies of each workplace and worker make it difficult to solve violence and harassment effectively on a case-by-case basis.
Consider reaching out to a respected private investigation firm like Integrated Security Services in order to implement your new system successfully. From background checks to workplace violence prevention programs to video surveillance, our priority always remains your office safety.