Workplace Violence Policy: I own a small business, so do I need a policy in this area?
This question was sent to us via our company website? So we think either something has happened or the subject has been raised by a member of staff.
The question of do you need a specific policy could be answered differently depending on the size and risk of the company or organisation. I personally worry that the use of the word policy can worry some small traders, or even worse force them to deny that they have heard or need anything like of policy on Lone Working as an example because they don’t need the hassle of writing one or can’t be bothered to have something written down that they think can be held over them if an incident does occur.
How I always advise organisations from small to very large is that do their staff know what to do in the event of an incident of workplace violence?, then do they as line managers assess the risks the staff face?
If you have staff that face some degree of abuse, then what have you told them to do? Have you got them to report the matter or advised them on how to defuse or deter the situation, inclusive have you put preventative measures in to avoid the possibility of incidents?
A lot of questions will be asked if an incident does happen and the direct line manager of the member of staff will be asked, and then the direct line manager of the manager and so on and on and on………………….until everyone involved is identified.
Let’s take it up another level and now think if your staff are threatened on a regular basis, or has a viable risk of assault then you are now in a totally higher level of requirements. It will be expected that you have a clear and concise Policy outlining the responsibilities and other measures required to protect that member of staff, then also a training package has been initiated from a training company that has clear references of previous training delivered, experience of the specific fields and insurance cover of so many millions to cover all areas. Because if an incident did occur and the training company/person cannot stand by its training or prove competency in that specific area, well that lies again at the person responsible for the protection of the members of staff and now inclusive of the person who arranged the training packages.
Every time we sit with our new clients and go through our questions, they can look surprised, but actually relieved as we understand the constraints and problems within this subject area, so we look at helping them prevent incidents firstly and then also look at cost effective measures to ensure that it not only protects the staff but helps prevent placing the organisation in uncomfortable situations through bad publicity or court action.
Then finally design the training that hits the specific risk clearly between the eyes, and that means focusing on the risk and not making the training generic or boring. When asked what are mine and the team’s biggest challenge when delivering workplace violence training: I say simply its past training as the trainer has failed to find the problem and work with the attendees to find a realistic solution.
If you require help or guidance please contact us at Quell and we more than happy to help.
Blog by Will Holland