Key Stages of Workplace Aggression Planning
Customer workplace aggression is a very realistic hazard and has the potential to severely impact on the health and wellbeing of staff, visitors, clients, contractors and others.
Industry Risk has significant experience in assisting clients with all aspects of addressing workplace aggression. The following primary areas of focus are key during initial review and mitigation processes:
- Delivering de-escalation training, and identifying threats and hazards through assessment, evaluating related risks against organisational tolerances, and improving risk
- Developing arrangements to preventing workplace aggression incidents through interior design, effective processes, and individual and workforce skills development.
- Escalating triggers for warning individuals of their behaviour and implementing tailored/restricted attendance arrangements for customers where there is known risk of aggression, can be effective options.
- Managing the consequences of customer aggression through implementation and maintenance of security and response procedures, and incident reporting and escalation.
- Managing the consequences of customer aggression through effective staff support, including early intervention, employee assistance program services, legal guidance and investigating serious incidents.
Where Workplace Aggression Planning is Considered
There are obvious a range of locations or circumstances in which customer aggression may arise. Any workplace that has a customer-facing area/counter etc. presents an obvious risk, especially where custom sought is linked to an essential service.
There are also a range of other locations/situations in which customer aggression may be evidenced too. Shopping (price disputes, exchanges and returns policies), political (ideological dispositions etc.) and entertainment (alcohol, crowding etc.) environments, among others, are all at risk of instances of such acts.
Logical Workplace Aggression Planning Stages
In assisting clients, and through a process of stakeholder engagement, we take the time to develop a detailed risk assessment of the context and locations that staff are potentially at risk.
We then gather existing details of how the threat of aggression has been managed to date. From this we can develop a rounded appreciation of the extent of the issues, and where obvious gaps exist.
Where a security risk assessment has not been completed, we usually perform one; if one does exist, we will review it and offer input on its efficacy. Consistent with our approach to Business Resilience, we typically look for a focus around the logical stages of addressing aggression: prevention; preparedness; response and recovery, as detailed within the key stages above.
Managers have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment and reduce the risk of exposure to injury from acts of customer aggression. By taking an approach as outlined above, organisations can make highly positive changes in protecting staff, and also demonstrate that an effective and logical method has been applied.
Organisations that take such approaches gain from a range of outcomes that they may not have anticipated. Simply setting clear expectations of behaviour through appropriate methods can produce decreases in aggression within the workplace.
Increased confidence and morale, resulting in higher levels of staff retention, are also potential benefits. So too is preserving reputation and operation continuity by avoiding such incidents.
In recent times Industry Risk personnel have worked on multiple projects focused on reducing the risk of and responding to instances of workplace aggression by customers. Some examples are included below:
- Client 1 is a large Commonwealth Government service provider with customer facing service centres located in all populated areas of the country. The Department was troubled by an ongoing tempo of incidents relating to customers becoming violent and sought options to reduce the risk. Solutions recommended had major positive impacts on reducing such incidents and protecting staff when they did occur.
- Client 2 was about to undertake drug testing in the workplace. Naturally individuals threatened to refuse to undergo such testing when called in and measures were recommended to minimise associated risks.
- Client 3 is a media entity that continues to air contentious subjects. The potential for violence in the studio was considered real and ongoing, and measures were identified that serve to reduce the potential for this to occur. No such incidents have since occurred in recent years.
In addressing workplace aggression, Industry Risk has developed collaborative systems for identifying threats and addressing security risks. SECTARA is a leader in its space and assist in formalising the risk assessment process for clients and their stakeholders.
Get in touch with Industry Risk today for more information about our Customer Aggression Planning services, and how our experience and insights can be used to help keep your organisation’s personnel safe.