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Workplace Violence Intervention and Prevention

You pride yourself in running a “tight ship”. Your firm is productive, profitable and is comfortably housed in a desirable location. You’ve never had any problems that a quick confab over a cup of coffee couldn’t solve. It seems “workplace violence” is a concern for other companies, not yours. You wonder what there is to be gained by devoting executive energies to learning about intervention and prevention. Surely that kind of training could benefit some organizations, but what does it have to offer yours?

  • Increased Safety:

    Corollary bonuses: increased employee comfort and productivity

    Even the most well-appointed workplaces filled with creative, dynamic and personable staff are, at the core, physical plants with physical vulnerabilities. The most tightly-knit organizations are still made up of fallible human beings. Your staff, clients and visitors need to feel safe doing the business that brings up the bottom line. Study after study shows that the safest environments are created where the people running them have been thoroughly prepared for any contingency.

  • Reduced Liability Exposure:

    Corollary bonuses: increased morale and fewer expensive lawsuits

    Government regulations require employers to provide a “safe workplace” for all in their employ. A lack of conflict so far does not equate to a safe workplace. Properly-crafted workplace violence policies coupled with ongoing training in the procedures these policies detail help ensure that your company won’t come up short when it comes to the welfare and safety of those under your umbrella.

So Where Do You Start?

Threat Assessment: Let Executive Defense Team work with you to minimize your personal and corporate risk. Our experts can be quickly dispatched to your company premises where they can perform a comprehensive Vulnerability Assessment. The Vulnerability Assessment report will discuss both areas of strength (elements already in place which decrease the likelihood that workplace violence will occur or produce serious negative outcomes) and areas of vulnerability to workplace violence. With this report in your hands, you can begin to make the plans needed to keep your place of business safe and secure

What comes after the Vulnerability Assessment?

WVIP (Workplace Violence Intervention Program): Your Vulnerability Assessment Report, taken in conjunction with your corporate agenda, will point to a unique set of needs. Perhaps some physical changes are in order; perhaps some policy changes are in order; perhaps a new set of individuals must be endowed with the tools of policy implementation. EDT realizes that no two firms are alike when it comes to risk reduction. We have therefore developed a modular approach to addressing the potential for workplace violence. The WVIP Program is divided into six major training modules, which can be chosen, ordered and sized according to your firm’s particular needs. Each module has been carefully developed by corporate security specialists and the content of each has been thoroughly fieldtested. **Auxiliary modules, like the one tailored to the business traveler, can be added to your program upon executive request.

The Six Modules:

Cultivating Workplace Violence Awareness

This module begins by providing you and your executives a complete overview of American workplace violence. Discussion reaches far beyond the stereotypical media portrayals of victims and perpetrators, illuminating myriad forms of violence both less visible and more insidious than that which typically emanates from our television sets. We examine the true economic toll exacted by workplace violence every year and deconstruct several misperceptions and misguided recommendations put out recently by self-styled “experts.”

The module then focuses on the development of workplace violence awareness, both in supervisory personnel and in ordinary employees. In each case of documented workplace violence, it has been found that the perpetrator had given certain warning signals to either a coworker or manager prior to the actual incident. Learning to recognize those signals and to act on them properly is a key risk to reduction. This module shows you how to remove the barriers to proper action.

Identifying the At-Risk Employee

Essential to effective prevention and intervention with respect to workplace violence is the ability to identify persons who may be vulnerable to slipping into violent behavior. This must be done without inappropriate (and usually accurate) assessments of an employee’s mental state; it also must avoid all improper “profiling” of employees based on irrelevant characteristics. The basis for the most accurate predictions about who is at risk will always lie in observable behavior. This module presents a set of behavioral predictors you can use in a wide variety of working situations to help identify who may be at most risk.

Mastering Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication

Effective communication is crucial to the everyday functioning of a well-run business, but it can have an even greater significance in potentially-violent situations. Properly receiving and interpreting messages sent by an at-risk individual and properly getting you own messages across can help you de-escalate tensions and forestall a violent incident. The “messages” we send and receive encompass much more than our words; in fact, it is estimated that more than four-fifths of our communication is comprised of non-verbal signals. This module takes an in-depth look at the totality of our communication, which includes kinesics and proximity dynamics, symbolic clues, and tactile/olfactory considerations as well as the standard verbal elements. We examine significant cross-cultural differences in both communication styles and message content and we delineate techniques that will help maximize our ability to communicate effectively in potentially-violent or crisis situations.

Handling Confrontations

From time to time, each of us must face confrontational situations. How can we minimize the possibility that an experience of conflict will result in an act of violence? Encounters with angry individuals must be carefully managed. We must not allow ourselves to be paralyzed by fear or traumatized into inactivity. This modular discusses a clear set of objectives we can bring to a confrontational episode; it can also detail a set of logical, confusion-dispelling steps we can take to achieve those objectives. The SDAR (Stabilize/ Diffuse/ Assess/ Resolve) approach is thoroughly explained and demonstrated. We observe, once again, that preparedness can make a tremendous difference.

Establishing a Structure for Intervention and Response

Individual preparedness is important; but so, too, is corporate preparedness. A firm with a comprehensive intervention-and-response structure in place is a firm in a stronger position to prevent workplace violence. Those acts of violence that do occur can be contained much more effectively at companies where individuals can follow pre-established procedures and fall into pre-established chains of command. This module discusses how to systematize your firm’s approach to both the possibility of violence and the actual occurrence of a violent incident. We examine how to form an intervention-an-response team to carry out certain portions of your workplace-violence policy. **If your organization does not have a detailed policy, Executive Defense Team offers an auxiliary module designed to help you crate or modify one.** We consider both what warning signals to look for when we evaluate the likelihood of an eruption of violence and when we might reasonably intervene. We then zero in on how to respond to violent acts and navigate their aftermath with sensitivity to a variety of individual and corporate concerns.

Reducing Risks Associated with Employee Termination

Employee termination is a routine, albeit sometime uncomfortable element of corporate life. Most terminations are completed without incident. Sometimes, however, we are faced with the need to terminate someone we’ve identified as “at-risk.” We remind ourselves that a significant number of acts of violence that do occur in the workplace are entangled with employee terminations. How do we best effectuate the termination of a person who may be vulnerable to slipping into such an act? This module explains a number of ways to reduce risk before, during and after employee terminations.

The centerpiece of the module is the team approach to terminating at-risk employees. We take a look at who, specifically, should be a part of a firm’s termination team (and why the team shouldn’t contain the employee’s immediate supervisor or manager). We delineate the functions of each team member and explain each step of a well-choreographed termination procedure. We discuss the importance of elaborate advance arrangements, with each team member knowing when to be where and how to interact with the employee and the other team members. We consider the fact that the need for security doesn’t automatically disappear once the employee leaves the company premises after the termination interview. We show you how to use both company and community resources to help reduce risk and help employees strike off in a positive direction.


Let the WVIP program work for you. Give Executive Defense Team the chance to show you how the flexibility of this modular program design can work to your firm’s greatest advantage. You run a tight ship. Are you ready for some smoother sailing?

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