Violence in workplaces is a sad, dangerous reality. Without proper measures in place, even something as little as an argument can turn ugly for employees and businesses. There are, however, certain ways to prevent workplace violence and make workplaces safer.
While many workplace violence cases result in fatalities, even the non-fatal incidents have lasting effects on businesses. Existing and future employees may assume the business is unsafe and not good place to work. Clients and customers may avoid the business due to bad PR. Disputes must be de-escalated and violent incidents must be avoided at all costs. Thankfully, there are strategies businesses can take to minimize and prevent workplace violence altogether, and we discuss them here in this piece.
1. Comprehensive Anti-Harassment Policy
The company must have a strict code of conduct that covers violence and harassment. All employees must know that there is a zero-tolerance policy towards harassment and violence. The policy must also be clear and effective from start to end, with standard procedures followed for all reported incidents and real consequences for the violators.
2. Effective Communication
Once the company policies are implemented and communicated to the employees, management must ensure that channels of feedback and reporting are in place. In fact, the employees must be encouraged to report their complaints and should be assured about their privacy, as well. Without proper reporting channels and responses, smaller incidents can go unreported. This is harmful in the long run because small grievances and arguments can fester and grow into big confrontations, eventually ending in violence.
3. Minimize Stressful Situations
Stress plays a huge psychological role when it comes to how people react in a certain environment. A person spending eight to nine hours a day at a workplace is bound to have certain worries and stresses. This could range from overwhelming workloads to a lack of job security, which could possibly turn violent with time. Therefore, a company must ensure that the workload is equally distributed among all employees and is within reasonable limits.
Additionally, the employees should all have clear job duties and a fair idea of what is expected of them and their work. This will not only keep them on track, but will also alleviate worries about expectations and whether they are meeting those requirements. Frequent feedback sessions can also help with that.
4. Encourage Acceptance
One of the best ways to prevent workplace violence is to encourage respect, openness, and acceptance of different of opinions. Educate staff on the importance of having contradictory views to foster improvement and innovation. This must start at the top. Management must wholeheartedly listen to what employees have to contribute, demonstrate a commitment to diversity, and maintain an inclusive and accepting work environment.
5. Minimize Asset-based Risks
Although this has more of an external side to it, workplace robberies also fall into the category of work-related violence. Incidents of this nature usually occur at places with valuable assets, like banks, retail stores, or car showrooms. However, in reality, most businesses can easily fall victim to this threat one way or another. Not only should these assets be kept out of reach, if they are a necessary requirement, proper security arrangements should be put in place not only to secure the assets, but the employees, too.
Workplace violence can damage a business’s reputation and adversely affect the well being and performance of the employees. It is important to clearly explain the company policies to employees. Management should also encourage employees to discuss safety and report threats.
Make sure that team members feel they’re heard and are confident about the effectiveness of the communication channels and safety protocols. Last, but not least, once a report of violence or other breach of code of conduct is received, action must be taken to set an example and avoid similar instances in the future.