In our job as Threat Assessment experts, we frequently go into workplaces where an employee’s behavior has come to the attention of HR or management for being inappropriate, bullying, or downright threatening. And, as a part of the Threat Assessment process, we always inquire about the history of the present concern, and speak with individuals who have been identified as possible witnesses to the behaviors in question. Almost without fail, we also find that the behaviors that are now being investigated have gone on longer than was originally thought, and were witnessed or experienced by individuals, sometimes repeatedly, who never came forward to report the behavior. We’ve even seen this happen in work environments where prevention training has occurred, and policy and reporting expectations for potential workplace violence are made clear to employees. So what gives?
When an employee is threatened, stalked or assaulted, who is the likely person they will first turn to for protection at the workplace? Usually, it’s the most visible defender of an organization – the security professional. Their role in responding to workplace threats is invaluable, and essential to establishing and maintaining a safe workplace for all employees.
In addition to responding to threats in the workplace, security professionals are also a critical part of the team that works to create safety protocols and procedures that help prevent workplace violence. Working together with HR, executive leadership and other key stakeholders, security professionals provide specialized and expert guidance on issues such as access control, crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) and coordination with local law enforcement.
But, what if there are even further steps that can enhance the security professional’s role and help broaden their influence with regard to workplace violence prevention? Specifically, what can prepare the security professional (and the organization) to see something, and say something, and do something before something bad happens, and as a result, potentially prevent a violent incident from occurring.