An incident of violence in the workplace can have a harmful impact on the victim as well as your organization. The side effects can linger for a long time after the incident and can have a wide-ranging impact on your organization and its bottom line. Workplace violence is something that everyone needs to be educated about.  It is important to recognize the warning signs in order to protect yourself and your employees. Given the broad impact a single incident of workplace violence can have, employers should consider these three best practices when reviewing or developing a workplace violence prevention program.

Types of Workplace Violence

The definition of workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or threatening behavior that occurs in the workplace. First, criminal intent is a type of workplace violence. It is when the wrongdoer has no relationship with the targeted establishment and the primary motive is theft. Second, a customer or client workplace violence incident is when the wrongdoer is a customer or client of an organization and the violence occurs in conjunction with the employee’s normal responsibilities. Next, domestic violence is the third type of workplace violence and is caused by someone who is not an employee or a former employee but who is closely related to a current employee. Finally, ideological workplace violence is directed at an organization, its people, or property for ideological, religious or political reasons.

How to Discover Red Flags in a Pre-Employment Screening

Having thorough hiring policies in place including a complete background screening prior to extending an offer for employment is critical. Background screenings protect your organization, your employees, and your clients by confirming that potential hire is who they say they are. When reviewing an applicant’s prior employment history try to uncover any gaps in employment, falsified qualifications, or criminal history. If any discrepancies occur, clarify and authenticate the information so that you can make the right decision and determine if the applicant is a good hire.

Best Practices for a Safe Workplace

Any incidence of workplace violence can have a harmful effect on your organization. The outcome can be damaging to you and your employees. Having a set standard of policies and procedures in place can help things go smoothly if an incident should occur. Establishing a policy for reporting concerns will promote open dialogue among employees. Also, if employees are aware of the ways to report concerns, they are more likely to use the resource. Lastly, implementing a violence response policy is a good way to prepare your employees if an urgent situation arises. For example, reviewing evacuation and other emergency procedures.

Workplace violence is an issue that is gaining attention but remains misunderstood. While a handful of high-profile incidents have the power to capture the public’s attention, the majority of incidents stay under the radar. Keep in mind any effective workplace violence program has to be ongoing, understanding the process of educating your employees and having them maintain trust in your organization. For HR managers and decision makers, raising awareness and taking steps to prepare for and prevent workplace violence is one of the best ways to protect employees and their professional welfare.

References: Ever Bridge, SHRM