Do employees need to be trained in how to prevent WPV?

by todaystrainingblog

          “Why do I need to train employees on workplace violence (WPV)? I mean, they don’t need to know all that stuff. it’ll just clog their day. And I don’t think they need to know that nonsense, because they need to do their job & concentrate on making the business successful so they’ll have a job tomorrow!”

This is a true statement, albeit paraphrase, that I got from a business owner when pitching him a wpV workshop for him and his employees. I attempted to explain to him the reasoning why they needed to know what to look for and how it can affect the business. Unfortunately, not being a salesman…

           Too many times the reasoning for not conducting training on WPV is financial & an attitude. Training costs money and lost productivity. If the training takes place during business hours then its lost productivity. If it’s done off hours they have to be paid so therefore it’s lost money.

           Secondly, it’s the employer’s attitude that I mentioned above. And that attitude? Many companies don’t train their employees on protecting themselves and co-workers in WPV. And why? Because they have that one most dangerous attitude I’ve talked about before, numerous times. Chh, Can’t Happen Here.

The key to recognizing and preventing WPV is training. Employees need to know what to look for and why they need to report those items. Warning signs especially are something to train them on because this is the first step in preventing an incident from employees, or former ones.

           I will venture a guess, by experience & observation, that most companies consider any training over and above the orientation session, on the employee’s job, is useless and too trivial to worry about. In some cases they may be correct, but not in this one. If you have an incident, do you want to have employees that are informed and know what to do or just run around in a sheer panic and make it worse for them and anyone else trying to help?

           Is not re-fresher training on sexual harassment or their benefits necessary? Maybe changes in shift hours or conditions? How about a new machine or product line? You have to spend time to train them on these, so WPV shouldn’t be any different.

But what do you train your employees in, other than the 21 warning signs? Here is a short list of the things that they need to be trained on & avoid, hopefully, an incident.

  • Where WPV occurs. You have to remember it doesn’t just happen at a business. Sometimes the business follows them home
  • Attitudes that they, and others in the company, may have that may encourage an incident from customers or co-workers. No one is immune to these attitudes, remember CHH?
  • Customer service attitude. And yes, I know you teach this to everyone. But you don’t necessarily teach them how customer service can prevent an incident. And before you can guffaw it can very easily.
  • Run, hide, and fight. You’ve seen the video and red the materials. But I think it needs to be taught, including the fight aspect. Yes fight. One employee should tuck the customers away in the back, but if the employee or customer is in front of you fight back and distract them.
  • Situational Awareness. Your employees need to have situational awareness, what it is, and how to develop it. Without it they may be clueless to what is coming. And that could prove fatal for someone
  • Evacuation Plans. Your employees need to know where the exits are, even if the place is filled with smoke. If an (ex) employee comes in to the business and create havoc, they will know every evacuation door. So the employees need to be instructed to think out-of-the-box in these situations.

           Training for an incident of WPV should be like all other programs. It needs to be done on a continual and consistent basis. It does no good to train for anything for a few days and then drop the entire program because you don’t have the time, energy, or financial resources. You have to make the time, find the money, and the energy to do it.

How do I answer those owners or managers who ask me the questions above? As simple as I can, in my own blunt and direct manner, I tell them that one such incident can put them out of business because of the cost and that it can happen to anyone (business), at any time, any-where, for any reason. And while the frequency of deadly WPV may be low, it doesn’t negate the fact that it can literally kill their business.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent nearly 33 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. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

                I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear