How to Prevent Workplace Violence

Unfortunately, violence in the workplace has become a serious problem all over. Not only is workplace violence extremely unsafe, it also diverts critical attention from one’s work and lowers workplace performance.

Here are some simple methods to help prevent workplace violence:

Have a clear, written policy that communicates zero tolerance toward workplace violence in any form. Determine in advance what discipline will be taken against employees who threaten or take violent action in the workplace, and follow through if such threats arise.

Provide opportunities for people to make decisions on their own. The single most frequent cause of workplace negativity is traceable to a manager or the organization making a decision about a person’s work without his/her input. Almost any decision that excludes the input of the person doing the work is perceived as negative.

Make opportunities available for people to express their opinion about workplace policies and procedures. Recognize the impact of changes in such areas as work hours, pay, benefits, assignment of overtime hours, comp pay, dress codes, office location, job requirements, and working conditions.

Create a management team trained to recognize the warning signs of potential violence. Alert your employees about what constitutes workplace violence, including destruction of property and implied threats of violence, and encourage them to report these incidents immediately.

Have a reporting system to let management know about suspicious or threatening behaviors. Learn to recognize employee behaviors that contribute to workplace violence, such as emotional disturbance and substance abuse. . Do not create rules for all employees when just a few people are violating office policies. Minimize the number of rules directing the behavior of adult people at work. Treat people as adults and they will usually live up to your expectations, as well as their own.

Help people feel like members of the in-crowd; each person wants to have the same information as quickly as everyone else. Provide the context for decisions, and communicate effectively and constantly.

Provide appropriate rewards and recognition so people feel their contribution is valued. The power of appropriate rewards and recognition for a positive workplace is remarkable. Suffice it to say, reward and recognition is one of the most powerful tools an organization can use to buoy staff morale.

Provide appropriate leadership and a strategic framework, including mission, vision, values, and goals. People want to feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves. If they understand the direction, and their part in making the desired outcomes happen, they can effectively contribute more.

The above recommendations will certainly help employees form a strong foundation for positive morale, minimizing negativity and workplace violence.