Found yourself in a confrontation with a colleague in the workplace? How well did this incident settle with you, and what strategies did both parties use to solve the problem? These are the kinds of questions that immediately come to mind whenever workplace violence is mentioned. How best to approach such type of squabble in the place of work mitigates the loss of productive hours, and it is the responsibility of the human resource department to segment appropriate measures of abating disputes that would result in violence. As an HR director, understanding the psychology around workplace violence is not just a necessity but a mandate for safeguarding the workforce and cultivating a culture of safety. It is also a chance to appreciate that human beings are different; therefore, studying individual behavior would significantly help in dealing with the workforce, helping them where necessary. Join me as we discuss the intricacies of human behavior and prevention and intervention strategies.

The Landscape of Workplace Violence

Before we discuss the integrities of workplace violence, it is paramount to comprehend the situation of the matter and how it has been entrenched into the working environment. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), workplace violence affects a considerable number of workers in the United States. These abuses span across different spectrums, including physical abuse, verbal abuse and harassment, and homicides. In the same vein, the effect is shown to affect all demographics, raising the question of whether the human resources professional are trained and equipped to deal with such hurdles.

Statistic further paints a sobering picture- that 17% of workplace deaths are as a result of violence. Most of the reported cases are from the healthcare, social assistance sector, retail and accounting sectors. This is because the sectors above involve high interaction with individuals, exposing the workers to different characters. Notably, workplace violence permeates all industries, underscoring the need to have proper measures to deal with the menace. As a start, an organization can embrace threat assessment done by Lauth to save both lives and money.

Understanding the Perpetrator

At the center of workplace violence lies personal psychology and environmental triggers. As opposed to the popular belief, perpetrators of workplace violence cannot be easily identified as outcasts. They are people within the workplace who may have succumbed to individual and professional pressures. Consider a case of an employee who has faced setbacks in the place of work, combined with personal stress. While the employees might contain themselves and not show any sign of stress, the outburst can disrupt the tranquility of the working environment. This highlights the interrelated nature of workplace violence. It is a product of psychological distress that should be addressed before causing problems at the place of work. Factors such as financial challenges, untreated mental issues, job dissatisfaction, and substance abuse can cause the problem, converting an ordinary person into a threat. 

The Role of Intelligence Investigation

In organizations with eminent potential for violence, proactive measures are necessary. While it is true that human resource directors have less training in establishing the possibility of violence in their place of work, this cannot be left as it is. The changing dynamics of workplaces demand innovation and always staying ahead of threats. One of the approaches to avert violence is conducting an intelligence investigation, which is the arsenal of the HR director. This includes analyzing data from different sources, such as employees’ behavior, and external assessment, which enable the identification of threats before escalating into violence.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime study established that the role of intelligence investigation is to gather information and understand its relationship with other variables. Also, the study noted that intelligence investigation entails piecing up information and coming up with practical applications in the workplace to avert the dangers associated with violence. With this in mind, the importance of intelligence investigation cannot be overstated. Lauth’s threat assessment team will provide you with the crucial context you need to protect your employees.

Fostering a Culture of Prevention

The evolving nature of work must be addressed, and it is the HR director’s responsibility to cultivate a culture of prevention. How do we ensure that your workplace has the right culture of protection? It all starts with the most straightforward thing- communication. Supporting open communication motivates the employees to report any form of threat before it escalates into violence. A sustainable organization gives staff in the lowest rank the ability to report cases of threat without intimidation and guarantees them protection. Also, training employees on stress management and de-escalation strategies will ensure the safety of the workers. If you suspect your workers are suffering in silence, consider involving Lauth’s services, and we shall conduct a comprehensive background check to unearth what you don’t know.


As an HR director, ensure employees’ safety extends beyond policies and standards. Understanding the behavior of your employees is the starting point for designing appropriate interventions. Also, unraveling workplace violence and leveraging intelligence investigation tools would aid in navigating the challenges of risk. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  Let us act on this wisdom and ensure that workplace violence ceases to become a statistic but something of the past.