It seems like workplace violence is an ever-present threat despite HR’s sometimes heroic planning and educational efforts. So that begs the question: What’s the key to recognizing and defusing violent incidents before they occur?
In a report published in the journal Advances in Developing Human Resources, Martin B. Kormanik, a consultant and HR specialist who heads the consulting firm O.D. Systems, says companies need to assess their current status and plan initiatives based on employees’awareness level of workplace violence.
He argues that HR should start by surveying employees to see where they fit into one of these five stages of awareness, then use the information to tailor training and incident response programs.
- Pre-encounter: little to no knowledge of workplace violence.
- Intellectualization: knowledge but no experience with workplace violence.
- Encounter: experience with workplace violence.
- Empowerment: seeking strategies to adapt or cope after workplace violence.
- Integration: regaining a sense of control after workplace violence.
In Kormanik’s study, most of the participants fell into the intellectualization stage, which means they need basic education to recognize and report behaviors that may lead to workplace violence.
For more information check out Kormanik’s complete report or the information on violence prevention for employers provided by the FBI.