3 keys to managing the aftermath of workplace violence
Critical incidents can vary in intensity and severity. They can involve one person or many. Most critical incidents occurring in the workplace, however, have several resulting elements in common:
- An increase in absenteeism
- An increase in employee turnover
- Loss of productivity
- Business interruptions
- Increased workers’ compensation claims
- Increased insurance premium rates.
However, those results can be influenced. With proper crisis management methods and post-incident intervention, an organization can recover from and decrease the negative fallout from an incident.
The following is a basic step-by-step crisis management guide to help you and your organization get back on track after a critical incident.
#1 Security: Out of harm's way
First and foremost, be certain that all employees, customers, clients, and visitors have been removed from harm's way. Make sure that local law enforcement has been informed of the incident. Provide emergency medical care for any injured parties.
If a threat remains, keep all personnel away from the site until it has been cleared by security or police.
After an incident occurs, it is imperative to reinforce security precautions with all personnel. Frequently, an organization has adequate physical/site security, but the measures have been disregarded or disabled by employees—usually as a corner-cutting convenience.
With the heightened awareness following a critical incident, your personnel will be more likely to hear and heed your warnings against these types of security breaches.
#2 Human resources: Critical incident response debriefings
As soon after the removal of the threat as possible, your HR director should schedule Critical Incident Stress Debriefings (CISD). CISDs are extremely important to the recovery of an organization following a critical incident.
They are not therapy sessions, but rather “psycho-educational” meetings. The intent is to educate employees on what to expect as a result of the trauma. There are three main phases of a CISD:
- Information. This is where the employees are given as much information about the incident as possible. This helps to decrease the number of rumors and myths that follow many traumatic incidents.
- Venting and validation. During this phase of the CISD, the participants are encouraged to share their fears, concerns and other feelings. Once these emotions are expressed, they are validated. This serves to reduce anxiety in an organization and minimize the need to talk about the incident when employees should be working.
- Prediction and preparation. During this final of the CISD phase, the facilitator helps the employees understand what to expect next. Example: Who will be questioned during the police investigation? Research has suggested that a CISD following a critical/traumatic incident can drastically reduce the negative impact on employees.
#3 Public relations: Manage the message
One of the most difficult invasions for most people is to have a microphone thrust in their face and asked to be instantly prophetic (coherent, intelligible, informed, etc.) following a critical incident. Don’t allow any of your employees to be put in this situation.
If there is ever an incident in your organization that is of such magnitude that it generates media interest, it is essential that a company spokesperson be designated. If you have not already designated this person, do so immediately, before an incident can occur.
Almost every household has a scrambled Rubik's Cube that has never ever been solved. Use the online Rubik's Cube solver to get it fixed in less than 25 steps!