Just as your company has developed policies, procedures, rules, & regulations to combat other less serious threats in the business, so you must create and do the same for workplace violence (WPV). That one thing is called a Threat Assessment Team or Group – TAT or TAG. And it can’t be something that meets on an infrequent basis or one that only meets when there is an issue.
Your TAT should be meeting, initially, several times a month. In the beginning, they have to meet that often to ensure that everything that needs to be done is getting started and completed. Consequently it also means moving in the right direction, without a lot of argument and socializing.
The first thing you need to do is form the team. That responsibility usually falls to one person within the organization usually in HR or security. But the people on your team must absolutely be ‘team players’. They have to put aside their own departments, squabbles, and issues with others and work together. If they don’t then nothing will get accomplished and you’re wasting money (in other ways than useless meetings), time, and possibly lives.
Who should be on this team? It doesn’t have to be completely all inclusive, but it does require a good representation and cross section of the company and its departments;
Production-Including any particularly heat intensive areas (think summertime with the humidity in the Midwest & east)
Security-yes the TAT and the company need them there
Office people-secretaries, clerks, and ‘gofers’
C-suite management-they have to buy into the idea and show that they do
Front line Supervisory/management
The TAT’s first task is to review everything that has been gathered and put together for both the Crisis Management Team (CMT) and the company’s Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). This should also include the risk assessment and analysis from security and/or risk management. The main function here is to question the findings and recommendations until they are satisfied with the results in defining them.
Do they absolutely need everything from the CMT, DRP, and security’s risk assessment? No, only the parts of those plans that is pertinent to the TAT. The TAT’s responsibility is to perform assessments of potentially troubled employees and ensure the safety of the facility & employees. Not to gather intelligence for their own use. (And unfortunately some will gather it for a nefarious purpose-guaranteed)
The third part of their responsibility is gathering and assessing all threats and violence from within the business. Even if there are none to speak of, they still need to meet and discuss other such incidents from the surrounding area and industry. This will allow the team to become pro-active in seeing and confronting any potential problems or trends with the company. A good resource for this is the Workplace violence e-report (www.Workplaceviolence911.com).
Discussing other incidents gives you the foresight, or hindsight, to see what other companies did and didn’t do. It allows you to clearly see what works and doesn’t or may/may not work for your company with some tweaking. And remember that WPV is more than firearms; it includes threats, hoaxes, & assaults of all kinds, physical, including throwing things, and verbal.
Part 4 – Conclusion
Your TAT needs to have the support of the c-suite, and authority, in order to pursue and complete their mission. Without this support, they are dead in the water before they ever get started. Upper management needs to give them support and the authority to act upon something they find amiss. That’s why it is so important to have a senior level manager, or C-suiter, on the team.
If the TAT’s recommendations will cost hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, then the C-suite may obviously, be reluctant. But if your plans and implementation are realistic in their approach and financial costs, then you need to push it –vigorously, to them. They don’t know or understand the whole problem with WPV, that’s your job. #2 is
Your job entails instructing them in what it means to the company and how it is cost effective to make these changes.
Again, the TAT needs to read, revise, and re-define every single aspect of your CMT, DRP, and other such factors as necessary to ensure that the business is as safe as it can be. This may also mean stepping on the toes of departmental heads (remember no fiefdoms are allowed). Not trying to upset anyone, but to make the business safer and get the job done right the first time.
Simply put nothing should be left off the table when it comes to the TAT review. Every sacred cow needs to be re-visited and possibly put out to pasture if it’s outdated or not plausible anymore. No matter how much it’s liked or utilized!
From security to shipping to office visitors to delivery people everything has to be analyzed. One question they can ask themselves during the initial phase of the group is simple and at the same time hard to answer. And no matter how trivial it needs to be brought up and discussed.
How could a non-employee gain access to the business to do harm? Secondly, how could an employee gain access for the same reason? Lastly, they need to think like a person who wants to get in and do harm. Think like a criminal or someone upset enough to come in and create chaos and mayhem.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page,One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues.