Our firm is inundated with calls from potential clients requesting support to prevent acts of targeted violence. When we receive these calls, our first question is always, “What prevention strategies do you currently have in place?”
In some cases, the client has a robust security program but needs to implement a few additional best practices. In others, they have next to nothing. Our team of experts starts by conducting a workplace violence needs assessment. We also strongly urge our clients to have us conduct an anonymous survey of their workforce at the outset of the assessment work.
Getting the Full Story
While an increasing number of corporate and government organizations have been prioritizing workplace violence prevention, we have observed that policy and program decisions are being made without management having the full picture of employee concerns. We have found that the best way to gain this insight is by conducting an independent, anonymous survey of an organization’s workforce about their knowledge of, experience with and feelings about workplace violence. An analysis of the results along with the candid responses yields a wealth of vital and often surprising information.
The Priceless Value of an Employee Survey
Typically, the responses validate the need to either strengthen or establish a workplace violence prevention program including updating policy and procedures. Questions address a myriad of topics including employees’ awareness of and familiarity with the existing workplace violence prevention program and policy; the amount of training they have received; their level of satisfaction with the organization’s efforts to protect the workforce; particular areas of concern; and most importantly, past incidents or situations, including instances of domestic violence, that either could or did lead to acts of violence. This last topic is likely to reveal the most unexpected results. This insight can validate the commitment to workplace violence prevention and guide the direction of resources and efforts across locations, functional areas, employee categories. Additionally, Human Resource and Corporate Security teams may need to provide concrete evidence to leadership in order to justify funding and resource allocation.
Responses Raise Concerns
A recent survey we conducted included the following responses, among hundreds of others:
- Too afraid to give details.
- I cannot speak without reprisals.
- I have witnessed intimidation, raised voices and threats by supervisors.
- Physical altercation between employees.
- Specifically, when team staff meetings are scheduled. Hostile environment.
- Physical violence, no. Social, economic, and psychological violence, yes.
What’s Included in a Workplace Violence Needs Assessment?
Our objective is to evaluate our client’s current policies, practices and structures as they relate to the organization’s ability to mitigate, intervene and ultimately prevent violence risk situations. We also try to identify the presence of any specific risks of violence affecting the workplace. Our work includes recommendations for investigating and evaluating threats and other behaviors of concern, addresses considerations for developing the policy and capacity to support threat assessment efforts in the workplace; and provides suggested approaches workplaces can adopt to foster environments that reduce the risk of violence.
The workplace violence needs assessment, in conjunction with an employee survey, provides a wealth of valuable information to firms looking to build up their workplace violence prevention efforts. If you would like further information, please contact me.