Although this is a personal finance blog, I write about small businesses a lot. Here we will focus on the employees of your business. To run a successful business, you need to have a fleet of happy employees. You need to keep them energized and protect them from any kind of harm or hazard.
Protecting your employees is key since they are your most valuable resource. There are many areas that you need to put practices in place so that you can keep your employees protected, but in this article, we are going to focus on only five ways to protect your employees.
1. Identify Employees Who May Be Vulnerable
When you are dealing with workplace violence, one of the first steps to making sure it doesn’t happen is to identify employees that might be vulnerable.
Certain tasks are more dangerous than others, and there are certain types of people that might draw violence due to uneducated people’s opinions.
Some of the activities that might make an employee vulnerable to workplace violence are those that exchange money with the public, delivery drivers, those that work alone or without much supervision, working late or early morning hours or working in high-crime areas.
2. Establish a Program to Prevent Violence in the Workplace
If you don’t already have a workplace violence prevention program in place, you need to take this step toward reducing the amount of violence that goes on in the workplace.
Those of you that do not already have a handbook written out, you need to do so immediately, if you cannot do it on your own, you could speak to a PEO if you are working with them.
You must put a zero-tolerance policy in place toward workplace violence, and this is against or by your employees.
All of your employees need to understand that violent behavior in the workplace will be investigated and the consequences carried out if the behavior was proven.
Make sure everyone can understand the program, and it needs to be easy to access so they can review it.
3. Secure the Workspace
It is your duty as an employer to make sure you keep your employees safe, and one of the top things you can do to make sure that the workplace is secure is to implement security measures like video surveillance, alarms, and extra lighting.
Making sure that people do not feel safe committing crimes is an important part of a safe workplace.
The people that are going to be dealing with cash should not have a lot on hand whenever they are working early morning or during the evening.
Drop safes should be provided so that they do not have much cash on hand. Having less cash on hand will make them a less enticing target for potential attacks.
If you have field staff, they should be equipped with cell phones and handheld alarms to alert you of any dangers they might encounter.
4. Provide Training & Proper Policies
Make sure employees are fully aware of what actions are acceptable and which actions are not. They should also know what to do if they see someone acting in a way that is not permissible to make sure the matter is rectified.
They should be provided with access to personal safety training to learn skills to de-escalate situations that might turn into dangerous ones.
You might even look into a company retreat for training if you are at a level where you can provide them.
When employees go into community areas, they should only carry minimal cash and an ID, so they do not become a target, and if anything unbecoming happens, they should report it to a supervisor right away.
Accidents do happen, be prepared and get employer liability insurance coverage, these are not pricey and can reduce the financial burden by a lot.
5. Encourage Communication
Similarly to when we were kids, people often make others feel bad about reporting violence or other impermissible activities.
Make sure to reward employees that make the workplace safer and make them feel safe about coming forward about issues that relate to their safety.
The more that you encourage communication, the more likely it is that they are going to be able to come to you when it matters most.
Keep the communication flowing as much as possible, so it is not a strange thing when lower-tier workers come to speak with management. This communication also encourages a happier workplace as well.
While there is no way to keep violence out of the workplace altogether, employees and employers can work together to minimize it.
If everyone does their best to keep watch of potentially violent situations to keep them from happening, you are sure to see a workplace that is much more friendly to teamwork and much less friendly to violence.
If you do decide to work with a PEO, you will find much of the legwork has been done for the above tasks.
Instead of having to put all of the programs and processes into place from scratch, you would have the help of experienced people that understand exactly how to best work with employees to get the best results.
You want to make sure that your employees are taken care of to the best of your ability. Keeping your employees safe is not only right, but it is also beneficial to you financially since lawsuits are very costly and time-consuming.
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Communication is key! I’ve prevented violent acts with my employees by just talking to them, definitely.