With the number of workplace shootings on the rise, it may not be surprising that roughly 1 out of 7 Americans do not feel safe at work. This is according to new data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
According to SHRM, nearly half of HR professionals said their organization had at some point experienced a workplace violence incident at some level—up from 36 percent in 2012. Of those who reported having experienced workplace violence, over half said their organization had experienced an incident in the last year.
“Companies and HR should and must do more to make employees feel safe at work,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, president and chief executive officer of SHRM. “This data shows we have a lot of work to do in terms of security, prevention, training and response.”
Unfortunately, nearly one-third of American employees and nearly 1 out of 5 HR professionals are currently unsure or don’t know what to do if they witness or are involved in a workplace violence incident.
“The goal for employers—and this is something we address in our toolkit—is making your workplace a ‘difficult’ target for violent offenders and being prepared to react quickly,” Taylor explained. “If you make the investment in security and preparation, your employees will feel safer and respect you for valuing their safety.”
And while the majority of HR professionals say their organization already provides workplace violence training to employees on how to respond to an act of workplace violence, more than one-third do not provide such training to employees. Additionally, while almost all say their company has a process for identifying employees with a history of violence, over half are unsure whether they have a workplace violence prevention program.
According to the research, Americans understandably feel safer when employers provide prevention and training response programs. Additionally, more employees know how to react if their organization already has a workplace violence prevention and/or employee response training program.
Addressing Workplace Violence
Even though the terrible active shooter incidents get the most public attention, work place violence can have many other non-headline producing forms. The National Safety Council (NSC) recommends that managers and safety professionals at every workplace should develop a policy on violence that includes:
- Employee training
- Creating an emergency action plan
- Conducting mock training exercises with local law enforcement
- Adopting a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence
Workplace Violence Prevention Webinar
501(c) Services, in coordination with P4 Security Systems LLC, is presenting the webinar Workplace Violence Prevention for Nonprofits this June. We will post a registration link in our monthly newsletter once all the details are complete.
A sample of 1,416 SHRM members who work in organizations employing at least one other person answered questions on workplace violence in a survey administered from February 18 to February 20, 2019. Additionally, a sample of 545 employees of organizations with more than one employee also answered questions on workplace violence on the AmeriSpeak Omnibus survey, a monthly multi-client survey using NORC at the University of Chicago’s probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population, administered from February 28 to March 4, 2019.