Two million people are victims of non-fatal violence in the workplace each year. Sometimes the precursor to violence is a simple threat. Therefore, it is important to know how to deal with employee threats before they escalate into violent actions.
Living in a Pressure Cooker
Today’s professional world runs on a 24-hour, 7 day- a-week, 365 days-a-year schedule. As a result, employees are living a high-stress, “pressure cooker” existence. Tension, violence, bullying, rage and negative encounters exist in the workplace due to:
- Heavy workloads
- Unrealistic productivity targets
- Lack of control over day-to-day tasks
- Unrealistic deadlines, cutting into much needed “downtime”
How do employees cope with unrelenting schedules and unrealistic expectations? In some cases, they snap – or behave in what is commonly termed as “going postal”. As with most potentially life-threatening situations, the best policy is prevention. Dealing with threats is the key to unlocking and preventing potential violence in the workplace. These are verbal warning signals.
Minimize Fall Out
On average there are 1,000 workplace homicides each year. In most cases, people who become violent have been stressed for quite some time. Stressed people often signal to coworkers or people at a place of business their escalating frustration in the form of threats. People most likely to make threats in the workplace generally fall into the following categories:
- Disgruntled employees
- Someone suffering with family disputes/personal problems
- Former employees
- Someone battling substance abuse
- Lone wolf
When someone does “strike out” at work, the vast majority of incidents is not severe or fatal. However, it is important to take note when toxic workplace behaviors like bullying, intimidation, harassment or stalking present themselves. That’s when it is time to act.
Employers should always be ready to prevent, prepare and respond to an aggressive behavior and/or violent threat from an employee, vendor or visitor.
“Aggression and violence in the workplace is on the increase for most companies that fail to recognize and be PROACTIVE.” – Timothy Dimoff
Make sure to:
- Establish a zero-tolerance policy for violent behavior in the workplace
- Have the proper physical security in place to protect access to the workplace
- Provide employees with anonymous hotline capabilities
- Teach employees gentle diffusing techniques to allow employees to vent and work through conflict to a solution
- Have an established threat response, to act quickly and correctly to diffuse the situation
Overall, trust your gut instinct. If a person has a known violent past or they are immediately set off by a minor incident, contact professional security consultants and/or law enforcement immediately. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
Deal with Employee Threats Before They Escalate
As a former law enforcement officer, Tim Dimoff applies his firsthand experience with aggressive and/or violent perpetrators to business operations’ best practices. Aggressive violence and behavior only decreases when it’s not invited into the workplace. Protect your business by learning effective practices and procedures to address employee threats before it’s too late. Contact Tim to schedule his Dealing with Employee Threats presentation today.