Why Culture Counts

By Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D. on Oct 26, 2018 2:33:09 PM

The Importance of Leadership in Preventing Workplace Violence

Workplace violence (WPV) prevention is a challenging and anxiety raising issue for most organizations. Leaders react to this problem in different ways. Leaders:

  • DENY: “It will never happen in our workplace.”
  • GAMBLE: “I can’t justify the expense for something that may not happen
  • TAKE ACTION: This leader tackles the problem head on and acts proactively to create a work environment where grievances and other behavioral issue are not allowed to fester into violence.

Which leader are you? Have you created a culture which emphasizes the importance of a safe, effective and productive work environment?

In our experience, leadership is critically important in creating a culture where prevention efforts thrive and are lasting.

Leadership in this case refers to the ability of an organization’s key leaders to create, model and maintain a safe work environment, while culture represents the personality and character of the work environment – the sum of its values, traditions, behaviors and attitudes. With regard to workplace violence prevention, a safe workplace culture is one that prioritizes and communicates the importance of establishing a threat and violence free setting in which employees can effectively do their jobs. And should threats or violence occur, one that ensures that the organizational response is both prepared and immediately able to assess and mitigate any potentially dangerous situation.

Topics: WPV
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Why Don't Employees Report Problematic Behaviors in the Workplace?

By Wayne Maxey, CPP, CTM on Jul 23, 2018 7:21:21 AM

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? 

Topics: WPV
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Threat Assessment Teams: An Invaluable Resource

By Glenn Lipson, Ph.D. on May 8, 2018 5:20:18 PM

At a recent meeting of our local chapter of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP), I was reminded that as threat assessment professionals, we have been utilizing multidisciplinary teams for almost 25 years in San Diego County. Together, law enforcement, mental health professionals and local court systems have worked effectively on a variety of threat cases. The common goal? Identifying and intervening in stalking, workplace violence, and other cases where risk to workplace, school and public safety has been present.   

Topics: WPV
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Workplace Violence and Bullying: Are they that different?

By Catherine Mattice Zundel, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP on Apr 23, 2018 4:37:15 PM

As experts who have traveled extensively to consult and train our clients on workplace violence prevention and bullying, we are often asked “What is the difference between workplace bullying and violence? Where does bullying cross the line?” It’s a great question and one worthy of clarification as we understand and address these types of behaviors in the workplace.

Topics: WPV Bullying
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"See Something, Say Something, Do Something": A Guide for HR Pros

By Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D. on Apr 5, 2018 11:50:26 AM

6 Workplace Behaviors to NEVER Ignore

It seems as though the news in the past few years has been full of stories of violent behavior in the workplace, with conduct ranging from harassment and bullying, to shoving, fist fights and stabbings, and in some rare cases, to incidents involving firearms and active shooters. 

The Bureau of Labors Statistics estimates that over 2 million people per year experience some form of violence in the workplace. This begs the question: what can be done to prevent workplace violence incidents, either from occurring or from escalating once the cycle of violent behavior begins?

Topics: WPV
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 Workplace Violence Awareness Month?             Is that a thing??

By Jaimee Pittman on Apr 2, 2018 10:45:03 AM

Did you know that April is designated as Workplace Violence Awareness Month? Or that this is the 6th year that there has been such an observance?

Don’t feel too bad if you were out of the loop on this news.

I suspect the only people who knew this are people like us – that is, people who obsess about workplace violence prevention, and have devoted their careers to helping leaders keep their workplaces safe.

More good news – because we obsess about this topic, you don’t need to! You can count on us to raise your awareness through solid content and helpful tips, and to keep you informed about industry news and best practices.

Topics: WPV
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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

Topics: WPV
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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:

Topics: WPV
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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.

 

Topics: WPV
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