Everyone wants to feel safe and secure at work, and there are plenty of reasons for employers to prioritize workplace safety and culture. For employees, fewer peripheral worries make it easier to fully enter a flow state and productively engage, which means happier teams and boosted profits, to name just a couple of the potential rewards on the table.
Meanwhile, serving as food for thought for leadership, forging an ironclad safety culture at work will also help with retaining the best talent and reducing workplace risks. One recent worker survey found that 97% of respondents considered safety culture a major factor in choosing where to work, while another identified that workers who feel psychologically safe are less likely to be injured during their workday.
Perhaps counter-intuitively, the nuances of corporate culture play an essential role in shaping a sense of safety at work. Why might that be? Well, strong, impassioned, engaged, and emotionally invested teams are not only more productive, but also more mutually supportive and attentive to procedures and the well-being of others.
As corporate investigators here at Lauth Investigations HQ, our work extends beyond aiding businesses experiencing the challenges arising after a negative incident in the workplace. It also includes proactively helping them to reduce risk while increasing every metric of corporate success—from the bottom line to team-wide morale and ultimate employee safety.
Workplace Safety Culture Checklist
To foster a stronger safety culture at work and boost those vital and welcome business-heath metrics, we provide corporate culture audits to a spectrum of American businesses. But first, what does a safety culture at work look like? Here’s a safety culture checklist to help get you started.
1. Strong Hiring Practices
As corporate investigators know all too well, ensuring workplace culture and safety begins with careful recruitment. It’s important that employers enjoy confidence that their latest recruits have a glowing professional track record and no skeletons in the closet. Employee background checks are an excellent tool when striving to better safeguard your team and brand. 2. Shared Mission and Values
Encouraging the kind of employee engagement that allows teams to work mindfully and safely begins with creating a shared sense of not only mission and purpose, but also the whys and values driving employees’ daily actions.
3. Clear Policies and Procedures
Implementing best practices when it comes to procedural safety and behavioral policies is an absolute must for employees aiming to encourage employee confidence. Among these should be communication channels, allowing employees to raise concerns whenever they arise.
4. Critical Risk Assessments
Working environments can be complicated places, with many moving parts, teams, and factors in play. An expert workplace risk assessment can help to reveal potential safety vulnerabilities, for greater peace of mind among both teams and leadership.
5. Ongoing Training and Awareness
Company values and policies, mission statements, and procedures are all but useless if they remain in an employee handbook that nobody takes the time to read. It is crucial that leadership revisit these touchpoints in regular training and showcase them daily in order to keep team awareness high.
6. Unbeatable Corporate Culture
When corporate culture is thriving, it’s easy to see it in the dynamism of a workforce, energetic productivity, positive working relationships, and well-oiled efficiency. But what creates great workplace culture? It is the sum of many parts, including on-point safety practices, free-flowing communication, team alignment on objectives and values, and more factors besides.
Many companies don’t realize that their company culture has declined until a worrying pattern of dipping profits and employee misconduct have manifested. However, it’s entirely possible to get ahead of such perils and reinforce corporate culture with a corporate culture audit. Discover more about how a corporate culture audit works today or contact our team to learn more about how corporate investigators could support your business today.
If yours is one of the countless businesses across the United States who wasn’t prepared to deal with workplace violence and got caught out, you’re sadly—but certainly—not alone. Statistics reveal that as many as 90% of organizations do not comply with federal OSHA reporting regulations and record-keeping in this area. Meanwhile, 55% of American employees report being unaware or unsure of their employer’s emergency preparedness plans.
Sure, many businesses skate along relatively unscathed by this oversight. That is, until an unforeseen sequence of events brings it into shocking focus. If you have recently become aware of workplace violence or threatening behavior going unchecked on your watch, then this article is for you. As an employer, you can’t correct any past lack of readiness, but you can act responsibly today. Read on to discover the steps that you need to take next to prevent further damage, including human resource oversight, diligent investigations, corporate culture importance, and much more.
The Potential Cost of Being Blasé About Workplace Violence
If you’ve always imagined that worrying about things like workplace violence doesn’t need to be on your priority list, think again. Failing to take the issue seriously can result in a hefty price tag for American businesses. In fact, the average out-of-court settlement for workplace violence incidents runs at approximately $500,000, while a jury award settlement can painfully run into the millions. Yes, while you as an employer may not be the perpetrator, you can still be left with a business-sinking bill to settle.
Even on the lesser end of the spectrum, workplace violence on any scale can be a symptom of a toxic workplace culture that serves as a breeding ground for employee theft and even white-collar criminality. With abusive workplace behavior comes decreased productivity, employee absence, and runaway turnover. Business reputations can suffer, and ultimately lawsuits can ensue.
As an employer, you may find yourself held responsible for the actions of others as a respondent superior who failed to step in, under the terms of premises liability, or through negligence in hiring or retention. In immediate strides of damage mitigation, you can not only respond to present reports of threats or violence at work decisively, but you can also take immediate steps to rectify your state of preparedness for the future.
Damage Control for Threatening Behavior and Violence at Work
As someone with corporate or human resource oversight, you have a duty to develop an effective violence prevention policy and program and communicate it effectively to employees. This will include conducting accurate violence and threat assessments, incorporating threat screening into your recruitment policies, providing effective training to your leadership team, and having clear procedural guidelines in place to deal with both dangerous situations and their initiators.
In another instance, a leader may have allowed a toxic workplace culture to fester, only to see bullying escalate into violence. A swift and efficient corporate culture audit can quickly redress this imbalance, while comprehensive background checks can prevent the arrival of more bad actors in the future. Do you need help with launching impartial workplace investigations following reports of threatening or violent behavior in the workplace? Would you like expert guidance on how to make your place of employment safe, secure, and robust against the threat of nefarious employees moving forwards? If so, the Lauth Investigations team is here and ready to assist. We support businesses across America every day in their quest for strong corporate culture and ultimate prosperity. Don’t let workplace violence derail your progress—instead, reach out to our team today.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow for businesses across the United States that prosecutions for workplace violence have fallen in recent years, but these kinds of incidents continue to grow in frequency—with more than ever resulting in deadly shootings.
Here at Lauth Investigations International, among the spectrum of workplace investigations services that we provide, our comprehensive violence and threat assessment has seen steady demand as business owners recognize the dangers posed to their workforces. The question is, do you need a violence and threat assessment for your business, clinic, or hospital? Here’s what you need to know.
Why Workplace Violence and Threat Readiness Should Be a Priority
Whether you are a human resources professional or an entrepreneur steering a private organization, if your enterprise calls a healthcare setting home, then the risk for your team is real. Alarmingly, some 75% of all workplace violence incidents in the United States involve healthcare professionals, and this danger places them 12 times more at risk than other workforces.
However, that doesn’t mean that other industries are immune to the perils of workplace violence. In fact, a survey in human resources oversight revealed that 48% of American organizations had experienced workplace violence at one time or another. Offering further clues to those weighing the value of preventative measures, the New York State Department of Labor provides the following examples of employment situations that may pose higher risks of workplace violence:
Duties that involve the exchange of money
Delivery of passengers, goods, or services
Duties that involve mobile workplace assignments
Working with unstable or volatile persons in health care, social service, or criminal justice settings
Working alone or in small numbers
Working late at night or during early morning hours
Working in high-crime areas
Duties that involve guarding valuable property or possessions
Working in community-based settings
Working in a location with uncontrolled public access to the workplace
Combating Workplace Violence for Your Company
While having a clear policy on workplace investigations in order to respond to violent or threatening behavior is critical, it is one of the last elements of a well-rounded workplace violence prevention and management plan. In order to avoid liability, injury, or worse, your company’s policy should span from proactive prevention through to timely response and investigation.
First must come efforts to make your organization and employees hard targets for potential perpetrators through effective security procedures, clear recruitment and conduct policies, and ongoing training and awareness. It is also vital to understand corporate culture importance—because when toxicity takes hold within a professional setting, violence is only one of the unwelcome symptoms that may ensue.
A violence and threat assessment is an excellent way to hit the ground running, providing a clear plan of how to mitigate risk and safeguard your team against harm. A deeper understanding of the current health metrics of your workplace can be gleaned with a corporate culture audit—a particularly essential aid when incidents of violence or threatening behavior have already become pervasive. Finally, thorough background screening of all incoming employees can help to prevent the welcoming of a dangerous individual into your workforce. Most businesses find expert external guidance in these areas to be essential when it comes to protecting their teams and ensuring that optimal productivity can continue. To find all of these services alongside skilled investigative support for human resource investigations, turn to the seasoned and specialist corporate team here at Lauth Investigations International. We can provide tailored solutions to help your unique organization meet its ultimate goals, so get in touch today for a no-obligation consultation.
Would your business benefit from the support of professional investigators to mitigate the risk of violence and threats in the workplace? The answer to that question might surprise you.
When we imagine the role of the corporate PI, we might imagine them investigating a seedy manager accused of sexual harassment or a spate of thefts in a retail setting. However, one of the most valuable places to which an investigator might turn their attention is in fact prevention. When the same expertise and diligence is focused toward preventing criminality as would be to investigate it, harm can often be prevented altogether.
When it comes to workplace violence specifically, American businesses are thought to lose an average of $250 to $330 billion every year in fall-out—and that most likely doesn’t represent the full picture, given that one in four incidents of workplace violence goes entirely unreported. So how can we assist as you strive to keep your employees safe? Read on as we cover the strategies used by corporate investigators to keep workplaces thriving.
Your Responsibility to Prevent Workplace Violence
Before delving into how a corporate investigator from Lauth Investigations International can serve your business in threat prevention, it is vital to first understand your responsibility as an employer or individual responsible for human resources oversight. For any employer, common law principles apply in this area, including a responsibility to guard against discrimination and harassment, to avoid negligence in hiring and retention, through premises safety liability, and ultimately as respondent superior whenever an incident occurs.
Statistics suggest that as many as 90% of American organizations do not comply with federal OSHA reporting and recordkeeping regulations. This becomes problematic when we consider that OHSA states that “employers may be found in violation of the General Duty Clause if they fail to reduce or eliminate serious recognized hazards. Under this Instruction, inspectors should therefore gather evidence to demonstrate whether an employer recognized, either individually or through its industry, the existence of a potential workplace violence hazard affecting his or her employees. Furthermore, investigations should focus on whether feasible means of preventing or minimizing such hazards were available to employers.”
How Specialist Corporate Investigators Can Help You Meet Obligations
In an era that sees 62% of American companies perceive an active shooter as a top threat, knowing where to begin with prevention can seem intimidating. For most organizations, seeking external guidance is the best possible strategy—ensuring effective safeguards and an added layer of defense against possible litigation. To make your enterprise a hard target for would-be perpetrators, professional and licensed investigators can:
Provide a deterrent presence and framework guidance for the enforcement of a zero-tolerance policy on workplace violence
Support effective an legally air-tight workplace investigations, creating a safer work environment for your team while protecting your brand’s reputation
Ultimately, as an HR professional or leader driving excellence, your primary goal is to drive the progress and prosperity of your business. This makes seeking expert support for safety in the workplace and strong corporate culture a savvy strategy—allowing you to continue focusing on what you do best. If you would like to discuss tailored solutions to suit the size, nature, and current standing of your enterprise, the corporate team at Lauth Investigations International is here to help. For a no-obligation consultation on how we can support you in effectively combating workplace violence and more, get in touch today.
Are you ready to safeguard your company against the threat of workplace violence? Close to half of human resources professionals in the U.S. say that their organizations have been impacted by workplace violence, and yet more than half of American workers agree that their employers haven’t taken appropriate steps to keep them safe on the job. When we consider that one in four incidents of workplace violence goes unreported, the picture painted becomes yet bleaker. But happily, you can break free of these statistics and lead the curve by combatting workplace violence with a simple but comprehensive strategy.
Being able to mitigate workplace violence begins with a clear understanding of the dangers, a smart assessment of your unique company’s needs, and a savvy management plan to ensure you never get caught off guard. With that in mind, today we’re going to cover the main thinking points to consider when designing a business workplace violence policy, from human resource oversight to regular corporate culture investigations. So let’s get you set up to keep your brand and employees protected.
What Is Workplace Violence?
Many employers mistakenly imagine that their responsibilities surrounding workplace violence only begin with physical harm, but that is not the case. In fact, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines workplace violence as the act or threat of violence, ranging from verbal abuse to physical assaults, directed toward people at work or on duty.
This means that workplace bullying, discrimination, harassment, and threatening behavior can all fall under the umbrella of workplace violence just as readily as physical assault or an active shooter. Perpetrators may be employers, employees, associates, customers, or clients—but they may just as well be any peripheral outsider whose negative actions spill into the working environment.
Establishing a Violence Prevention Plan
When it comes to establishing a workplace violence prevention plan, no two businesses are the same, and each will need to create a customized strategy. In most instances, expert guidance can be invaluable in tackling each area required to keep your employees safe. For example, outsourcing detailed background checks can prevent those with a history of violent or abusive behavior from making it into your team, while periodic corporate culture audits can ensure that bullying or harassment isn’t taking place right under your nose.
Crucially, first and foremost, you want to make your company a hard target for those inclined towards workplace violence. In this area, a violence and threat assessment combined with a zero-tolerance policy is a great place to start. Next, you want to confirm that your teams are trained and prepared for any danger, knowing to look for signs of threatening, sabotaging, or destructive behavior, thus minimizing possible damage or injury. Not only will these endeavors reflect your strong stance on corporate culture importance, but they may well protect your enterprise against potential litigation—or even possible loss of life.
Putting a Response Strategy in Place
Alongside honing on-site security, recruitment strategies, and ongoing policy training, it is also essential to be ever-ready. Key to this is encouraging reporting throughout every level of your enterprise, with an open-door policy for better human resources oversight and, for larger businesses in particular, potentially a tip line. With that mechanism in place, every reported incident—no matter how minor—must be responded to. Workplace investigations should be scaled depending on the seriousness of the matter at hand, thoroughly documented, and reported as company policy and the law dictates. Inaction can result in both peril and liability. Would you like assistance with sculpting a tailored workplace violence strategy for your business? The corporate team here at Lauth Investigations International are seasoned experts in averting dangers in the workplace so that businesses can thrive at their truest potential. If you’d like to learn more about background checks, corporate culture audits, violence and threat assessments, and countless other forms of workplace investigations services that we provide, reach out to our team today for a no-obligation chat about your needs.
So far this year, there have been 297 mass shootings in the United States. Seeing as how November 1st is the 305th day in the calendar year, it would appear that the spike in active shooter events in recent years will not slow down any time soon. While schools redefine their safety protocols and implement programs that prepare students for these events, employers throughout the United States are also beginning to understand the importance of preparing their workforce for an active shooter event.
The year of 2017 broke the record for the most mass-shooting deaths every recorded—112 deaths, well exceeding the amount in any other year in recorded history. In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report that showed another spike in workplace homicides. According to them, there were 83 workplace homicides in 2015, a number that skyrocketed to 500 for the year of 2018 alone. A terrifying 79% of those cases were the result of an active shooter. As a result, the desire for employee active shooter training has never been higher, with NPR reporting that as of 2016, 75-80% of employers are seeking qualified active shooter training to protect their workforce.
The Department of Homeland Security has a myriad of resources on their website for dealing with active shooters. One of them is a pocket-card that outlines the characteristics of an active shooter event, “Victims are selected at random. The event is unpredictable and evolves quickly. Law enforcement is usually required to end an active shooter situation.” Active shooters may fire at random, using no discernible criteria for their victims, but that arbitration should not be misunderstood. Perpetrators are deliberate, focused, and simultaneously detached from their task, creating a fatal perfect storm.
The Department of Homeland Security also have their own guidelines to how private citizens should react during an active shooter event: Run—hide—fight.
At the onset of an active shooter event, individuals should immediately identify an escape route, most likely a fire exit. While keeping their hands visible, they should leave their belongings behind and run to safety as quick as possible, assisting others if needed.
Once they’ve reached safety (or if escape is impossible) the Department of Homeland Security recommends hiding immediately in a location out of the shooter’s line of sight. Individuals should block the door or manner of entry into their hiding spot and silence their cell phones and pagers. Sit very quietly and wait for first-responders to find you.
The Department of Homeland Security lists this option as an absolute last resort in the event of an active shooter in the workplace. Your life should be in immediate danger, and you should be well-positioned to act with physical aggression and incapacitate the shooter.
Many third-party security companies also endorse the methods of Homeland Security, but there are others that take a different approach. Laurence Barton, a workplace violence expert, recommends employers seek training programs that promote a culture of safety and preparedness—not fear. In lieu of careful research regarding active shooter training, many employers opt for the simple, cost-effective route by showing employees the prolific training video produced by the city of Houston, which features graphic depictions of employees being shot. “When some companies have created these videos that show blood and guts—that’s not in any way the kind of learning that stays with people. In fact, it repulses them…employees get scared,” Barton says, “I just don’t believe scaring people is the way to teach them. It just promotes anxiety.” Aric Mutchnick, the president of a risk management firm called the Experior Group, agrees with Barton, “Cops or military guys like to have it very realistic because they think the more real it is, the more they can find out. That is true if you’re a tactical team, but you can’t apply tactical training to a civilian population.” Mutchnick points out that the equal distribution of choice laid down by the Department of Homeland Security—run, hide, or fight—is not only dangerous, but unrealistic, “It should be 90 percent run, 8 percent hide until you can run, and then as for fight, really? Are you kidding? I don’t know how you would even train on that.” Companies like Experior Group also recommend that a base knowledge of firearms should also be part of the training, not so employees can operate firearms, but so their knowledge can inform their escape. Civilians who are ignorant of basic firearm operations can easily be paralyzed by fear because they are uncertain of a weapons range or magazine size. This gives an active shooter ample opportunity to change their position and reload without fear of retaliation.
Frozen with fear—it’s something we can all relate to. After all, many working people today are not acclimated to the viable, potential threat of an active shooter in the workplace. Aggressive, hyper-realistic training can compound the anxiety triggered by the increased probability of being involved in an active shooter event. That’s why Barton and other like-minded professionals epitomize on a feeling of safety, with straightforward and honest training that will leave any employee feeling prepared. “The chief learning officer has a huge opportunity to lead a discussion about workplace safety. [Employees] are yearning to be informed about how the world is changing and how threats get processed at work…You want to have a subject matter expert who works with law enforcement and can speak the language of all employees.”
One thing that employers often overlook when considering active shooter training programs is a company that curtails the training to their individual brick and mortar location. As part of what they call “red ball drills,” Experior Group will evaluate the property to identify the specific issues that might present during an active shooter event. “The problems of a commercial building are not the problems of a hospital or a school,” Mutchnick says. “Run, hide, fight is s giant blanket they throw over the problem as a response, but it doesn’t deal with any site-specific issues.” All training dispensed by Experior Group is tailor-made for the culture and physical context of any business. When these issues have been identified, the instructor can direct employees the best manner of exit, should they have that option.
The last thing to consider when choosing an active shooter training program is the credibility behind the operations. Some of the most prolific risk management and security companies are headed by former members of law enforcement or the military. This experience with weapons and chaos not only validates the content for many employers, but also leaves employees empowered with credible knowledge. However, former navy seals and swat team leaders are not the only option when it comes to the instructor. Lauren Perry, the vice president of operations for Trident Shield, often addresses training groups. Her specific style and feminine touch opens the dialogue in any room, allowing individuals who might not respond to an aggressive, alpha males to remain engaged in the training, retaining the information that might one day save their lives.
Many employers often grapple with the cost of active shooter training for their employees. With many training programs averaging in the realm of thousands of dollars, employers often question whether or not active shooter training is even necessary. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 says, “Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace that is free from serious recognized hazards.” The rise of active shooter events in the United States is most certainly recognized, with every event further inflaming the political world and conversations surrounding gun control. Given the statistics we’ve seen here, it appears as though it’s not a matter of if an active shooter even will occur, but when.
Carie McMichael is the Communication and Media Specialist for Lauth Investigations International. She regularly writes on private investigation and missing persons topics. For more information, please visit our website.