Workplace Violence: What to Do After an Incident

Posted by Employer Flexible on August 15, 2019
Employer Flexible

Following a violent incident in the workplace, it can be difficult to get back to work. By taking the right actions after one of these incidents, employers can expedite the recovery process and minimize the effects of the incident. Below are some tips to help you get your company back on track. 

1. Understand the impact. 

A violent incident in the workplace impacts everyone, including those who were directly affected as well as bystanders. The psychological response to these events begins immediately and can last for months or even years. Common immediate responses include shock and disbelief, while long-term responses include loss of security, anger and social withdrawal. Most employees will follow a similar pattern of thinking as they process these events, moving from one psychological stage to another. 

2. Help employees process events. 

The emotional processing of a violent event can be challenging for employees. Employees who don’t fully process these events will not recover properly and may not be able to return to work at their full capacity. Employees who don't recover well may also experience a lower quality of life even outside of work. Offer support to all affected employees and encourage them to take advantage of these resources. Some of the resources you may offer include hotlines, debriefing sessions, counseling and referrals to mental-health professionals. 

3. Communicate with employees. 

Alleviate feelings of uncertainty by communicating with employees after the event. Be clear about the steps the company is taking to deal with the event’s aftermath and prevent future events from occurring. You should also give employees plenty of opportunities to have their voices heard. Allow them to express their feelings about the incident, their thoughts on the underlying causes and their recommendations for reducing the risk of future incidents. 

4. Take control of the story. 

When word of the incident gets out, media outlets are likely to pick up the story and begin reporting information to the public. In many cases, these reports are damaging and even inaccurate. Take control of your company’s image by communicating with media from the beginning, clearing up misconceptions and making public statements when appropriate. Staying on top of the media’s reaction to the incident will not only make things easier for employees but will also minimize damage to your company’s reputation. 

5. Conduct a thorough policy review. 

One of the best things you can do to facilitate recovery after an incident involving workplace violence is to take steps to make sure a similar incident never happens again. Sit down with supervisors and other management personnel to break down the events surrounding the incident so you can understand how it occurred. Make changes or implement new policies as necessary to prevent future incidents from occurring. 

Violence in the workplace has a significant effect on your staff and your company as a whole, especially when you don't deal with it properly. By following the tips above, you can minimize the impact and ensure that your company recovers as quickly as possible. For more information about how Employer Flexible can provide guidance on best practices for dealing with workplace violence when, please contact us

Topics: Human Resources