Safeguarding Your Workplace: Effective Strategies for Addressing Violence with Sodales

Case Management

July 10, 2024

employee and manager portrait

The unfortunate reality for many employees today is showing up to work and feeling unease and insecurity due to workplace violence. 1 in 5 employees globally have experienced workplace violence, according to the International Labor Organization. The spectrum of workplace violence is broad, ranging from verbal threats to physical confrontations – and it’s on the rise. This growing issue doesn’t just affect the employees involved; it ripples through the entire organization, impacting morale, productivity and organizational success.

In this blog, we will uncover the urgent need to address workplace violence, delve into its profound impacts and reveal how Sodales offers innovative tools and strategies to create a safer, more supportive work environment. Get ready to discover how you can transform your workplace into a haven of safety and productivity.

Understanding the Impact of Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is a multifaceted issue with far-reaching consequences that ripple through every layer of an organization. At the core, the well-being of employees is severely compromised. It has been reported that 33% of those who experience workplace harassment or violence suffer from depression as a result. It’s clear that the physical injuries sustained during violent incidents are just the tip of the iceberg; psychological trauma often lingers, manifesting as stress, anxiety, depression and a pervasive sense of insecurity. These emotional and mental health challenges can drastically reduce job satisfaction and overall productivity, creating a workforce that struggles to function optimally.

The impact of workplace violence extends well beyond the individual, affecting the entire organizational structure. High turnover rates become a significant issue as employees leave in search of safer work environments and contributes to a turnover cost of $16.5 billion annually worldwide. This, coupled with increased absenteeism, disrupts workflow and reduces productivity. Furthermore, the looming threat of violence can tarnish an organization’s reputation, making it challenging to attract and retain top talent. Organizations known for unsafe work environments struggle to maintain a positive public image, which can hinder growth and success.

From a legal and financial standpoint, the consequences are equally dire. Although estimates differ, researchers have put the average cost of workplace violence at as much as US$56 billion annually. Organizations are under a legal mandate to ensure a safe working environment for their employees. Failing to address workplace violence can lead to substantial legal penalties, costly lawsuits and hefty compensation claims. These financial burdens, combined with the costs associated with high turnover and reduced productivity, can be overwhelming. Proactive measures are not just advisable, they are essential to mitigate these risks and ensure the organization’s long-term viability.

Distinguishing Between Violence and Normal Workplace Conflict

It’s essential to differentiate between workplace violence and normal workplace conflict or differences of opinion. Not every disagreement or supervisory action constitutes harassment or violence. Supervisors are expected to manage employees by setting performance expectations, providing constructive feedback and taking corrective measures when necessary. Actions such as placing an employee on a performance improvement plan, assigning work, requesting updates, approving or denying time off and requesting medical documentation for absences are all appropriate supervisory responsibilities when conducted professionally and in good faith. Understanding these distinctions helps maintain a healthy and productive work environment while ensuring that genuine issues of harassment and violence are appropriately addressed.

A Unified Approach: Who is Responsible for Preventing Workplace Violence?

Preventing workplace violence is a collective responsibility that involves multiple stakeholders within an organization. Leadership and management teams must take the lead by establishing a zero-tolerance policy towards violence and creating a culture of safety and respect. HR plays a crucial role in implementing training programs, conducting risk assessments and ensuring that all employees are aware of the procedures for reporting and addressing incidents. Supervisors and managers need to be vigilant and responsive, recognizing early warning signs and taking swift action to mitigate potential threats.

Employees themselves must also be engaged in prevention efforts by fostering a supportive work environment, reporting concerns promptly and participating in training and awareness programs. Together, these efforts create a comprehensive strategy to prevent workplace violence and ensure a safe and secure environment for everyone.

New Global Regulations in 2024 to Prevent Workplace Violence

Many cities, provinces and countries are introducing stringent regulations to combat workplace violence. Saskatchewan, Canada has introduced significant amendments to its occupational health and safety provisions under The Saskatchewan Employment Act, effective mid-May 2024. These changes require all provincially regulated workplaces to implement a comprehensive violence policy and prevention plan. Many U.S states have OSHA-approved plans that must be complied with for further employee protections. California has passed a new Senate Bill 553, that requires all employers in California to implement and maintain an effective workplace violence plan. The EU has ongoing initiatives for workplace violence prevention which include the implementation of government programs such as the “European Framework Agreement on Harassment and Violence at Work” and the “European Pillar of Social Rights.” These programs emphasize the importance of creating safe reporting mechanisms, conducting regular risk assessments and implementing preventative training programs to ensure safer, more supportive work environments across member states.

These global regulations aim to create safer work environments, ensuring that organizations take proactive measures to protect their employees from violence and harassment, ultimately fostering a more secure and supportive workplace culture. Sodales can help organizations comply with these regulations with advanced modules for violence reporting, investigation procedures and compliance management, ensuring a comprehensive approach to workplace safety.

How Sodales Can Help Organizations Prevent Workplace Violence

79% of employees believe that a reporting mechanism for workplace violence is essential. Sodales’ software addresses workplace violence through its advanced modules and capabilities. Here’s how Sodales for Enterprise Health, Safety and Employee Relations can support your organization in managing and mitigating workplace violence effectively:

  1. Workplace Violence Reporting: Sodales offers a streamlined reporting system that enables employees to report incidents of workplace violence confidentially and efficiently. The platform supports detailed investigations, ensuring that every incident of violence is thoroughly examined.
  2. Detailed Investigations and Resolution Processes: Sodales’ platform includes capabilities for conducting detailed investigations, negotiation resolutions, conciliation and mediation processes. This ensures that conflicts are resolved amicably.
  3. Safety Plans and Workplace Assessments: The platform provides capabilities for developing comprehensive safety plans and conducting workplace assessments. These proactive measures help identify potential risks and implement preventive strategies to mitigate them.
  4. Regulatory Compliance and Policy Updates: Staying compliant with changing regulations is crucial. Sodales helps you ensure that your employees are always up-to-date with the latest regulatory requirements by providing you the tools to deliver your employees with regular policy updates and compliance checks.
  5. Module Reporting and Dashboards: With Sodales, you can generate detailed reports and access intuitive dashboards that provide insights into workplace violence incidents. These reports help in tracking trends, identifying problem areas and making informed decisions to improve workplace safety.
  6. Integration Capabilities: Sodales’ platform integrates seamlessly with existing HRIS systems, enhancing its functionality and ensuring that all relevant data is captured and analyzed. This integration capability ensures a holistic approach to managing workplace violence.
  7. Mobile App and Module Admin Console: The mobile app enables employees to report incidents and access resources on the go. The admin console allows administrators to manage and configure key aspects effectively, ensuring that it meets the unique needs of the organization.

By integrating Sodales into your everyday work processes, you are not only complying with regulations but also creating a safer, more supportive workplace for your employees. For more information on how Sodales can help your organization manage workplace violence, visit Sodales Solutions.

Ensuring a Safe and Supportive Workplace with Sodales

Addressing workplace violence is not just a legal obligation but a moral imperative that ensures the safety and well-being of employees. The profound impact of workplace violence on both individuals and organizations necessitates a comprehensive approach. Sodales offers an all-in-one compliance platform that supports detailed investigations, safety plans, regulatory compliance and more. By leveraging Sodales’ advanced modules and capabilities, organizations can foster a safer, more productive work environment, ultimately driving success and enhancing employee well-being.

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