When I began working in the workplace violence prevention field I was eager to get started and learn everything there was to learn because who doesn’t want to prevent violence?
It seemed obvious to me that this was an important initiative for my organization and I wanted to make a difference.
What I didn’t quite grasp at the time was that in the corporate environment, every penny is allocated.
While everyone could agree that the prevention of violence is important, it was more difficult to put an actual dollar amount towards creating an effective prevention program.
Coming into the field of Workplace Violence Prevention I had a diverse background. My college education was in architecture, of all things. I had experience in corporate real estate managing projects and administering leases.
I came to the table with a unique military background, starting as a medic with several deployments and then pursuing a career in flying the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter for the National Guard.
At the time I was introduced to this field, I was a leader in crisis management for a Fortune 500 company.
One of my dearest friends saw a skillset in me that I didn’t even know I had, and introduced me to the workplace violence prevention career field. I had gained the ability to pull all of my experiences together to make sense of a crisis but what I really needed to learn was how to do all of this in the corporate setting and how to essentially “sell” the importance of these programs.
I worked with an extremely passionate team who worked hours well past quitting time to create a world-class program. We didn’t do this on our own, however. We worked with many experts from outside of our organization that mentored us along the way. We benchmarked with several other companies and networked in organizations like the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals.
As you think about building your own program, here are the top 5 reasons we used to build our business case around the importance of this discipline and our program.
It happened here
I have seen this happen time and time again. Organizations wait to put money and resources into a program.
“We don’t have the resources.”
“It likely will not happen here.”
“We do not have the knowhow.”
Now, it has happened, and you and your organization are in crisis mode.
In the process of picking up the pieces of a violent event, your organization has the burden of managing media requests and working through potential liability issues.
This is the worst possible time to be trying to create a workplace violence prevention program but it is also the time that it is most obviously needed.
Could this have been prevented? How do we avoid this from happening ever again?
I believe wholeheartedly that there are things we can do. It is possible to prevent such terrible events from happening.
It happened there; It could happen here
We see the headlines. We see that it happened up the street, the next town over or across the state. We see that it was the same size organization, the same type of business, or a similar institution.
We see the 24/7 news cycle and we are all thinking about it.
If it happened there; It could happen here.
Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a crisis to sell a program. We often used past or current events to show the need or the value of the program we were trying to create or push forward.
Liability, Liability, Liability
If it is not enough to see that these events are occurring all over the world in the media, a reminder of potential liability concerns might be used to explain the importance of your program.
While I am not an attorney, I would always lean on our attorneys for advice.
Every state and industry may have different laws that govern different aspects of workplace violence. This is an area where I would consult with your counsel and fully understand your unique risks.
Safe environments lead to productive environments
Take a step back for a minute and think about how much more you are able to accomplish when you are able to put aside all of the distractions that may be preventing you from doing your job.
What is it that you do to concentrate? Put on your headphones, play some classical music. Clear your desk of all debris and distractions. Block time on your calendar to do some work so that you do not have meetings to take you away. Turn the do not disturb on your phone.
Now, think about doing all of these things that work for you, but add in that there is a potential threat of violence that could be walking in the door at any time.
You, however, are able to continue working because you know that your employer has plans, processes and procedures in place on how to keep you and your colleges safe while at work.
You are familiar with your corporate policy. Your employer has provided you with some awareness on what the companies approach is and you have had some training on what your part in the process is.
Everyone wants to work for an employer that cares about their well being
I have worked on several cases where a situation could have been worse.
Our systems worked. Threats of violence were reported to the appropriate people, situations were escalated to the appropriate teams and mitigation techniques were put into place. Threat prevention leaders coached HR through difficult conversations with victims and subjects. Resources were provided as necessary.
The teams that I worked with were some of the best I have ever worked on, they answered phones after hours, on holidays and weekends.
And what was the outcome of this team effort?
Everyone was proud of where they worked. Everyone from the leadership to the part-time employee. Everyone remembers how we worked through these situations. Everyone remembers how the worst day in their colleague’s life became better because they were surrounded by people that cared and did everything they could to prevent the unthinkable from happening.
Can we help you?
Bryghtpath has developed 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 includes 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.