Preventing bullying and workplace violence

In a recent OpenSesame webinar, Ann Potratz and Edwin Zalewski from OpenSesame course publisher  J. J. Keller & Associates shared strategies and top tips to prevent bullying and workplace violence through supervisor and workplace training. Working in close proximity to employees, supervisors are often the first to know about disagreements, threats, or acts of violence, and are therefore a company’s first line of defense against bullying and workplace violence. 

Supervisors are also the ones in an organization uniquely positioned to address warning signs before they escalate, and report warning signs of a potential threat.

Creating a workplace that actively addresses and works to prevent bullying not only creates a positive company culture, but also helps to reduce turnover. In fact 65% of workers who witnessed or experienced bullying in their workplace quit or lost their job because of bullying. 

Threats in the workplace include: 

  • Domestic disputes
  • Coworker disputes/harassment
  • Criminal acts
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Active shooter situations
Four Steps to Cultivate a Safer Workplace
  • Step 1: Know your employees By conducting background checks and references during hiring can prevent a potentially volatile person from joining your organization in the first place. Proper screening is crucial as your company could be found liable for negligence in the hiring process. In addition, if a violent incident should occur you may be obligated to notify future employers of that employee’s background as failing to disclose that information can be considered negligent referral.
  • Step 2: Create clear policies Create an environment of respect by establishing a policy that covers everyone in your workplace, from employees to contractors, vendors, and even visitors. This policy should be supported by top level management and be clear about unacceptable behaviors as well as the possible consequences for them. It should also outline procedures for reporting offenses.
  • Step 3: Enforce your policies Enforce your policy and enforce it consistently. All reports of bullying, harassment, violence and threats must be taken seriously.
  • Step 4: Complete a threat assessment Determine where your company could better protect itself against workplace violence. Teach your employees how to identify warning signs, how to report concerning behavior, and how to deescalate a situation. Deescalation is an especially important skill for managers and supervisors.

You can watch the full webinar “Preventing Bullying and Workplace Violence Through Supervisor and Workplace Training” here. 

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