Like many policies, procedures, and programs designed and implemented in the corporate environment, workplace violence plans are typically designed by individuals, groups, or committees with absolutely no knowledge, understanding, or background in handling violence or aggression. And, as any self-protection expert, police officer, or soldier will tell you…
…what seems logical, rational, and sounds like it should work in a planning session, is usually exactly the opposite when the brown stuff is hitting the fan!
Here are 7 reasons why most workplace violence action plans are all-but worthless, especially when actual violence is occurring.
1. The individual or group charged with creating the plan has no background in the subject of effectively dealing with violence and aggression. As a result, their plan includes ineffective training or, worse yet, no training at all!
2. Everyone assumes that irrational and violent people can be rationed with.
3. Plans and policies like this are often nothing more than feel-good, cover-our-butt maneuvers designed to garner a promotion, a feather in someone’s cap, or as a company’s PR move.
4. Everyone’s focus is on prevention and not on troubleshooting. As a result, attention is placed on the prevention at the front-end and the reporting and disciplinary procedures at the back-end – leaving a huge hole in the middle!
5. Consultants are hired based on their own company size and prestige, rather than their background in dealing with danger and violence
6. Plans are limited to passive elements like banned weapons lists, zero-tolerance statements, and reporting policies, and totally avoid physical response in the case of an incident that was beyond prevention, and…
7. Workplace violence plans, like many elements of the business world, are governed and limited by budgets… until it’s too late!
The good news is that, for most companies, your workplace violence plan doesn’t need to be scrapped. Chances are, it just needs to be completed. And once it has the necessary elements to balance it out, you will really have what you set out to have in the first place – a “liability-control” device.
While it may seem to be cheaper and more cost-effective to only focus on what everyone else is doing, it’s not everyone else’s business we’re talking about – it’s yours! And the cost, financially and otherwise, that can result from a workplace violence incident, can devastate a company. Sometimes for permanently.