When organizations put together their internal policies and plans, it’s easy to overlook workplace violence. It’s certainly a concerning thought, but it isn’t something your particular organization really needs to worry about. After all, you’d rather spend time educating and training your employees on something that adds a little more value.
Unfortunately, this train of thought is way off base. Having strong policies in place for workplace violence is important for any organization. Violent altercations transform an organization, causing irreparable damage and leaving you vulnerable.
Here are three key reasons that your company needs to adopt powerful workplace policies and plans immediately:
Workplace Violence is More Common Than You Think
Overall, violence has steadily declined since the early 2000’s. Both non-workplace violence and violence against non-employees have declined by an enormous amount. Workplace violence is also on the decline, but it has been much more gradual. By 2009, the last year that such statistics are available, we still had an estimated 572,000 nonfatal violent workplace crimes. In fact, these incidents covered about a quarter of all such crimes for U.S. citizens over the age of 16.
It’s easy to think that while this is a national problem, your employees are responsible, caring individuals. Your workplace is safe. A survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management found just the opposite. One-third of employees they surveyed were concerned about violent crime in their organization, and two-thirds claimed that there had been at least one violent incident in that organization within the last several years.
Since these violent altercations happen so often at work, you have a responsibility toward your employees and your community to safeguard against them. As overall violent crime decreases rapidly, you can help workplace violence move in the same direction.
Knowledge is Power
Having strong policies, plans, and training in place for workplace violence is critical since it’s the single best way to nip potential altercations in the bud. The United States Department of Labor claims that simply being able to identify the risk factors of workplace violence is enough to minimize or completely eradicate it.
For example, here are some common causes of increased risk for workplace violence:
- Overnight or late shifts. Violence crimes are more likely to occur in the late evening or early morning, and the workplace is no exception.
- Monetary exchanges. If your staff is directly handling money, there’s a possibility a criminal will attempt to use violence to grab it from them.
- Working in small groups. If somebody is working alone or in an isolated area, there’s a greater opportunity for violence to occur.
- Annual performance reviews. As you provide feedback to your employees, some of them may be unhappy or disagree with it. This leads to an increased opportunity for violence.
The Costs Are Substantial
Even if you’re only worried about the bottom-line, there’s still a compelling argument for workplace violence policies and training. You’ll need to spend time and resources putting everything in place and educating your workforce, but those costs are minuscule compared to the threat of a violence incident. On average, companies in the U.S. spend a total of $4.2 billion each year due to workplace violence.
Employee morale is going to suffer immediately after an incident. Any employees who were involved will need time off, and may even decide to leave the company. Publicly, your organization will have egg on its face, and the value of your brand will suffer. After everything is considered, the costs of workplace violence can reach well over $36 billion annually.
Clearly, having a strong workplace violence policy in place is critical to the future of your organization.
Can we assist you?
We have extensive experience in developing workplace violence programs, assessing and managing threats, and managing crisis situations. Our solutions have delivered strong results in this area, as can be seen in this recent case study of a project we undertook for a client to develop a workplace violence program.
If we can assist you in any way, please contact us today.