Making the Case for Bystander Training

By Elizabeth Roche, SPHR, SHRM-SCP on Mar 14, 2018 8:29:49 AM

An Essential Component of Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

Recently, workplace sexual harassment prevention training programs have made the case for including “bystander” intervention training. Historically, bystander intervention training has been used in elementary and middle schools to address bullying, and on college campuses and in the military in an effort to prevent sexual assault.

Who are “bystanders”, and what role do they play in harassment prevention?

In the context of the workplace, “bystanders” are defined as individuals who observe harassment of others in the workplace, while “targets” are the individuals who directly experience the harassing behavior. Bystanders can include a range of people, including co-workers, managers or supervisors, human resources and union representatives, and other individuals to whom harassment is reported. Co-workers who are informed of violence and harassment through the workplace grapevine can also become bystanders. 

The behavior may be serious or minor, one-time or repeated, but the bystander recognizes that the behavior is inappropriate, intimidating, offensive, a violation of policy or even physically threatening.

 

Bystander approaches focus on the ways in which individuals who are not the targets of the conduct 

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Wrap Up to the Blog Series: “Managing 4 Difficult Workplace Behaviors”

By Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D. on Mar 5, 2018 4:10:31 PM

This blog series addressed 4 behaviors (Annoying, Disruptive, Aggressive, and Dangerous) that can be challenging for HR professionals and leaders to manage. The series provided a number of practical suggestions for intervening in a safe and productive manner to prevent escalation.

So, taken together, what does it all mean?

Policy, training, and vetted procedures are critical factors in addressing and reducing these behaviors. In short, prepare, prepare, prepare.

As we have learned, each of the behaviors discussed in this 4 part series requires a response that is consistent with what we are observing from the employee, and that is also in accordance with organizational policies and procedures.

It is also vitally important to identify who within your organization will lead the charge when such behaviors are reported or observed. For instance, annoying and disruptive behaviors might start with intervention at

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Some not so random thoughts post-Parkland FL

By Jaimee Pittman on Feb 15, 2018 1:22:17 PM

In the Wake of Another Mass Shooting: Is Your Workforce Prepared?

Whenever news about the latest workplace or school shooting breaks, as it did yesterday, my first thoughts are probably like yours – something along the lines of “Oh no, how awful,” or, “Not again!”

Then, as more and more details about the shooter and the situation are revealed, my thoughts often turn to “this sounds all too familiar.” While we are still learning about the details of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, I feel compelled to share some thoughts on threat assessment and violence prevention.

In my almost 20 years in the workplace violence prevention field, I have worked side by side with a team of expert threat assessment professionals. I’ve watched them safely shepherd our clients through some pretty scary situations, and I’ve been in the room when they have raised awareness through practical training about preventing workplace violence.

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Managing "Dangerous" Behaviors

By Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D. on Jan 17, 2018 4:34:03 PM

Blog #4 of the series: Managing 4 Difficult Workplace Behaviors

What are Dangerous Behaviors?

Dangerous Behaviors in the workplace are the most severe and concerning of the behaviors described in this series. These behaviors are very frightening, and while occurring less frequently than annoying, disruptive or aggressive behaviors, they can nonetheless turn a “regular” workplace into a both unsafe and terrifying environment.

When we talk about dangerous workplace behaviors, we often see the following:

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How to Sell the C-Suite on Workplace Violence Prevention: Influencing Your Execs

By Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D. on Dec 15, 2017 4:55:42 PM

Making the Case for a Workplace Violence Prevention Program

Many HR Directors and Security professionals are asked by their CEO’s “Why do we a need a workplace violence prevention program? How do we justify the cost of policy development, training and security improvements? Besides, nothing will happen here.”

It’s not surprising that the cost of implementing these types of programs would raise questions, especially in light of the idea that you are preparing for an event that may never happen, such as an active shooter.

In reality, most workplaces can expect to be affected at some point by lower level acts of workplace violence like bullying, fistfights, sabotage or threatening behaviors; and while these are seemingly less severe than an active shooter event, there are nonetheless serious financials risks that the organization could face in the aftermath.

 

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Managing "Aggressive" Employee Behaviors

By Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D. on Nov 28, 2017 3:14:09 PM

Blog #3 of the series: Managing 4 Difficult Workplace Behaviors

What are Aggressive Behaviors?

Aggressive behaviors generally violate some kind of organizational policy. These behaviors include sexual and physical harassment, threats, intimidation, vandalism, theft, and verbal assaults. They also include threats, stalking and harassment delivered via electronic and social media. These behaviors are disturbing, can negatively impact the mental or emotional well-being of employees, and they can damage the culture of the workplace.

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Managing “Disruptive” Employee Behaviors

By Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D. on Nov 7, 2017 10:43:53 AM

Blog #2 of the series: Managing 4 Difficult Workplace Behaviors 

What are “Disruptive” Workplace Behaviors?

Disruptive workplace behaviors include (but are not limited to) attendance and performance issues, highly emotional and chaotic behaviors, heated outbursts, gross insubordination, lack of accountability for one’s inappropriate behavior, and lower level workplace bullying. When Disruptive behaviors are allowed to continue for any length of time in the work environment, the potential exists for co-workers, supervisors and even executives to feel “held hostage” by the individual and his/her problematic behavior.

How do “Disruptive” Behaviors affect the workplace?

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Situational Awareness in a Post-Las Vegas World

By Wayne R. Spees on Oct 17, 2017 1:41:33 PM

Are You Ready?

As a retired cop of 31 years, I have been around violence most of my adult life. I have seen firsthand what man is capable of against his fellow man. I have witnessed how people react to violence. It is common for people to freeze. It’s as if the brain will not accept what is unfolding right in front of the eyes. Also, under extreme stress our problem-solving skills go right out of the window. I think most people would rather live in denial than to acknowledge violence, especially when it is happening to them

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Preventing Workplace Violence: Getting Started

By Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D. on Oct 2, 2017 3:36:31 PM

The question of how to prepare an organization to prevent a potential act of workplace violence can be overwhelming for any HR or security professional and the knowing where to begin can certainly be daunting. As a starting point, we often recommend that our clients obtain a copy of the American National Standard, Workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention, co-published by the American Society of Industrial Security (ASIS) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

The American National Standard emphasizes the role of prevention in creating and maintaining a safe workplace and specifically looks at the role of policy, procedures, resources and safety protocols as being integral to preventing and responding to a workplace violence event. In fact, the American National Standard is considered the “gold standard” in terms of defining both the problem and scope of workplace violence, as well as outlining practical steps that organizations can take to address threats of violence and violent acts in the workplace. This publication is available from ASIS 

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Managing “Annoying” Workplace Behaviors

By Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D. on Oct 2, 2017 1:58:20 PM

Blog #1 of the series: Managing 4 Difficult Workplace Behaviors

What are “Annoying” employee behaviors?

Annoying behaviors in the workplace are just that – behaviors that may seem annoying, distracting and downright irritating, to the point of interfering with other employees’ ability to get their jobs done efficiently and in a productive atmosphere. Examples of Annoying behaviors can include things like difficulties with communication, excessive chatter about personal and non-work topics, attention seeking behaviors, and emotional and behavioral immaturity.

These types of behaviors can obviously create problems, and while it may seem that they often do not “cross the line” with regard to policy violations or evidence decreased performance, they do create difficulties which can impact workplace culture and productivity.

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