November 30, 2012
Re-Defining What Is WPV
How can you re-define something that is already so well known to the entire world? Let’s be real here, workplace violence is simple and easy to define! And to confuzzle you even more, let me tell you exactly what you’re going to say because I’ve heard it dozens of times before!
WPV is when one employee bullies or physically assaults another in the workplace or business, is that not the correct definition? Not entirely correct, except in a perfect world. Well, I hate to tell you
This, but you are wrong. But then again, most all business people (even those with MBA’s), some security professionals, not to mention the so-called experts are as well. Violence in our workplaces is much more than that and it may surprise you about the complete open honest truth.
Look at our world today and you’ll see what I mean. Remember the incident in Mesa last summer when a young lady walked into a deli and started screaming and smashing sales counters and threatening the clerks? That should have been considered WPV and most people didn’t acknowledge it as such. But it was violent and it did happen at a workplace. And it doesn’t matter that she was on drugs at the time.
WPV is any incident that results in the assault on an employee or customer. This can be a threat, harassment, bullying, verbal or physical assault – and this has many avenues as well. And the surprising aspect of this is that it can happen both on AND off the business property. Yes I said off business property as well.
If an incident occurs because it started at work it is WPV. If it ends at work or on the way to or from because that started at work, then it is WPV. It doesn’t matter whether or not anyone believes it so or not, it is. If you or loved one, friend, or significant other is beaten up after work because of an argument at work with a co-worker or customer, what do you think?
Do you remember the recent incident in Glendale Arizona where a man with an oxygen mask planted pipe bombs in his co-workers yard and tried to blow him and his house up? That started as an argument at work. Therefore it is WPV. How can you argue against that?
We need to examine what we consider violence in our businesses and how we can deal with the bullying and violence that occurs in our businesses. And then obviously, we need to examine any incident that occurs off property to our employees. Our employees are more vulnerable off property traveling to and from work than actually at work. How do I figure that?
The answer to that is simple. At work, there is, usually, some semblance of security. Even if it is weak and has as many holes as a sieve. When they are traveling, they have no security except their own wits. And while that might be enough for some, most employees are verrrry vulnerable.
And how do we do this? The first thing we have to do is train people to learn the warning signs and connect the dots in discussing violence. The conversation can’t stop at the property limit. Nor can employees, managers, supervisors, and business owners and others be absolved of their responsibility in preventing WPV. We are all to blame for this issue not just management.
There are many things that businesses and employees need to do to help prevent violence. It can’t be legislated away. It can’t be solved with metal detectors or locking the doors up all day and strip searching everyone who walks thru those doors. And it can’t be solved by turning the businesses into gulags. It takes time and training of everyone concerned to learn and deal with the problem.
And you have to re-define what WPV is in your mind and your employees mind. Then you have to train them on how to avoid the prospect and what to do if they are threatened, harassed, or assaulted. Connect the dots and learn, don’t just rely on an old fashioned idea and what you think you know. Just like society business in general and society overall, we’ve moved into the 21st century. And we are accelerating at light speed. So many different items have changed quickly. We’ve went from a simple tape driven hard drive 30 years ago to laptops that can out compute them by 100 times! Therefore, business terms and security has to change also to do what we’re supposed to – protect people, property, & assets.