You have recognized the necessity of creating a workplace violence program. You have gathered resources, created a workplace violence prevention policy, developed and trained a team and have developed a reporting process.
But, it has been some time since you have evaluated how you are doing.
Either you are trying to determine the effectiveness of your program or your leadership has been asking.
In this post, I outline a few non-metric driven ways to gauge how effective your program has been in preventing violence at your organization.
No major incidents have taken place
Having no major incidents is the most obvious metric to use.
This is however the most difficult because there really is no way to prove that you haven’t had a major incident specifically because of your program. You could have gotten lucky, or your organization may not have faced the threats that it could have.
From my education and experience the best explanation is that although we cannot definitely say that our program is the reason for having no major incidents, we can say that we have identified risks and threats and taken appropriate actions.
In the process of identifying threats and risks we have put considerable effort into evaluating and mitigating those known risks.
Therefore, it is safe to say that a likely reason why you have not experienced any major incidents is because you have a well-functioning program.
Your program team has gotten busy
My team always experienced an influx of reports after we provided training or after a mass incident occurred on the news at another organization.
To us, this influx was a good thing because it meant that people knew who we were and they knew how to report and incident and escalate it to our team.
While we did not enjoy the long hours that our job required, we knew we were doing something right when potential threats were being consistently escalated through proper channels.
I recommend offering several channels for employees, contractors and guests to report incidents and threats. I also recommend several means of awareness. It is not enough to just have a program but it is necessary to train employees, leaders, your threat management team and partners.
When all of these strategies are firing on all cylinders, your program team will get busy – fast!
Ask your employees and leaders
You have created an online training module for workplace violence – a great way to mass train your employees. You can easily show the percentage of employees that have taken the training. This is a start – and something everyone should be tracking as metric.
But you can’t stop there. I think about how many times over the years I have taken an online training course – only because it was required.
All kinds of employee courses are online these days. It is a way to quickly push out mandatory training and track its completion. But it simply does not replace in-person interactive training and discussions.
Many of us work in environments with thousands of employees where it is impossible to personally train every individual employee in person. This is where you have to get creative.
Periodically ask employees if they know what to do in several different situations. Have managers get involved and encourage the discussions. Run awareness campaigns, bring in memorable presenters, discuss amongst teams and provide collateral. These are great ways to spread awareness and maintain an effective program.
You have identified some serious risks
This one is almost as obvious as experiencing no major incidents.
If you have had the ability to identify and mitigate a high-risk case you are doing your job.
This means that the situation was correctly reported to your team through your reporting channels and you have been able to evaluate the risk factors involved.
Not every threat is a high-risk situation and you should have some sort of set criteria to help you determine what is high-risk and what is not.
I have managed hundreds of threats of workplace violence and in many cases, the initial report making the risk seem significantly higher than the situation is after further review and evaluation.
This is especially true after a full threat assessment and mitigation steps are put into place.
Occasionally however, there is a threat that is truly high risk. Those are the cases that need to go into your full threat assessment, evaluation, and mitigation process.
For this reason, I recommend a multi-disciplinary approach, involving human resources, security, legal-council and outside experts in psychology, suicide or domestic violence. This approach has been proven to be successful in preventing and mitigating risks of violence.
Take advantage of our expertise and experience at Bryghtpath
Bryghtpath has developed the workplace violence programs, threat management teams, and crisis plans for many Fortune 500 organizations. Our firm has more than a century of experience in developing actionable plans to help prepare organizations for the unexpected. Our expertise include crisis communications and emergency procedures, and we’d love to help empower your management to handle challenging workplace violence situations safely.
Contact us today at +1.612.235.6435 or via our contact page.