Providing Solutions to Workplace Violence
Workplace Violence is common in many workplaces and costs UK businesses hundreds of millions of pounds every year.
Employees who work in vulnerable environments and whose role places them in direct contact with members of the public can face harassment, aggression and violence. This in turn leads to increased levels of stress, increased employee absenteeism, high staff turn-over, lower productivity and greater levels of disengagement between the employee and employer.
The consequence of workplace violence is more complex than simply avoiding physical injury, it has a significant and damaging psychological impact on employees. This means the solutions to workplace violence have to be more than one dimensional.
Some employers have taken what they considered a 'simple' route to resolving these problems and installed physical barriers to protect their employees such as Perspex screens. While these may prevent physical attack towards employees, it does not address the underlying stress related issues both of the service user and the employee.
Some service users respond badly to the feeling of isolation and mistrust such screens produce. On the other side, the screens can give employees a false sense of security and reduce the sense of empathy with the service user. The result is a rise in the number of reported acts of aggression, threats and violence.
So although screens may prevent injury from physical violence they can increase other forms of 'workplace violence'.
The installation of screens often leads employers to think they can reduce the amount of training they need to provide, whereas in reality even greater Conflict Management Training and the associated skills are required to ensure this solution is effective.
‘Workplace Violence’ is described by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as:
'Any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work'.
For many (especially lone workers) due to the nature of their employment, screens or other physical barriers are not an option. Therefore the approach to resolving workplace violence needs to be more comprehensive, innovative and multifaceted.
We use a combination of different approaches and never disregard any measures or ideas which may resolve your problems. The starting point of any solution has to be the employees themselves; after all it is their experiences which will guide us to effective solutions. Employees will through necessity have developed ways of ‘dealing’ with the issues of workplace violence and as part of our consultancy project it is our role to determine which are effective and should be reinforced and which should be discarded.
We work in many different sectors and have the advantage of bringing solutions from one sector to another (where appropriate), rather than relying on the 'industry standard' solutions or 'off the shelf, one size fits all' solutions. We always take a fresh innovative approach to resolving the issues of Workplace Violence.
Our solutions include considerations such as:
• Training • Technology • Premises design • Workplace layout • Support services • In-house or contracted-out security •Co-operation with police, emergency services or private security companies • Team building • Work systems • Reporting structures • Access control • Employee confidence •
Our approach to a consultancy project is to work with our clients at every level; from managers to front-line employees. This approach ensures the continued success of our project, by generating a sense of ownership by your whole team.
Our aim is to empower you and your employees to manage harassment, aggression, threats and violence, in a manner which reduces their frequency and gravity. Our success is demonstrated by the improvement in productivity and reduction in levels of workplace violence following the implementation of our solutions.