- Nearly half of all HR professionals say their organization has experienced a workplace violence incident at some point — up from 36% in 2012, according to new findings from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Of those who said they experienced workplace violence, over half said their organization had experienced an incident in the last year. SHRM surveyed 1,416 members who work in organizations with at least one other person, along with an additional 545 employees of organizations with more than one employee who answered questions on the AmeriSpeak Omnibus survey.
- Yet a significant number of employers don't have a plan in place to handle such occurrences. 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. Nearly one-third of employees and nearly 1 in 5 HR professionals are unsure or don't know what to do if they witness or are involved in a workplace violence incident, SHRM said.
- SHRM put together a toolkit to provide employers with resources to address workplace violence. "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," SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. said. "If you make the investment in security and preparation, your employees will feel safer and respect you for valuing their safety."
A recent survey by Everbridge, Inc. concluded that, while companies say active shooters are a top security threat, few are prepared for such a situation. Three-quarters of respondents to a survey by Everbridge, Inc. said active shooter situations are the top safety threat their organizations are preparing for, placing that situation above natural disasters, cyberattacks and supply chain disruptions. Almost two-thirds reported, however, that they have never run an active shooter drill. The enterprise safety applications company said the results of the 2018 study, compared to a study it conducted in 2016, reveals a corporate environment with increased security awareness but without increased preparedness efforts.
While discussions about workplace violence can be an uncomfortable topic, it is an important topic and one that may save lives. It was reported in the Baltimore Sun that one of the late journalists at last year's shooting at the Annapolis Capital Gazette used her recent active shooter training against the gunman. She was credited with saving the lives of others and slowing the man down.
"Education has to start from the top down, and often that starts with HR," Taylor said. "There's naturally a lot of fear when people think of workplace violence. But preparing and providing employees with hands-on training helps empower them to react and take action in the event of a worst-case scenario."