Workplace violence is one of the most horrific incidents in society today. Who commits such acts? Agitated individuals who are recently terminated or are displaying high-risk behavior motivated by different stressors or victim mentality in the workplace. This webinar explores how organizations can safeguard their facilities and people and prevent such events from transpiring.
Nick Spencer, the Vice President of Operations for Strategos International, leads this discussion. Nick trains different organizations and individuals on safety and security topics and developed curriculum on active threat intruder response and anti-abduction for children. He’s previously served in both the military and law enforcement.
Specifics that he discussed in this session include:
- A backgrounder on Strategos, its inception, work, and mission.
- Who the first responders are in violent shooter/attacker events.
- Using behavior assessments in recognizing behavior patterns, identifying potential risks, and predicting future violence.
- The importance of looking at the totality of the circumstances and cluster of behaviors versus singular behavior or events.
- The concept of boundary probing that individuals may commit to see how much they can get away with in the workplace.
- The escalation cycle that may provide insights into a person’s behavior and tendency for violence.
- Barriers preventing organizations from conducting high-risk terminations as it relates to policy and skills – or lack thereof, and emotional components on both the employee and the leaders.
- The two types that high-risk terminations tend to fall into.
- Sample and common criteria for objective high-risk terminations that looks into aggressive behavior, deteriorating work performance, boundary probing, and violence escalation cycle.
- A rundown of questions to ask and other considerations for the high-risk termination decision maker as it relates to…
- The reason for termination and the organization’s legal counsel’s opinion.
- The employee’s personal challenges and ability to cope with these.
- Potential criminal activities, substance use, organized crime connection, and similar entanglements
- Their work performance, tenure in the job, and sense of identity tied to the job.
- History of or ongoing threats, extreme beliefs, propensity for violence.
- Tendency to blame others for their outcomes, have a victim or martyr mentality, or file grievances and lawsuits.
- A 2019 case study that highlighted key indicators of potential violence and how the organization’s lax approach to the risk posed by an individual ended in a tragedy.
- The value of controlling the controllable in high-risk terminations particularly as it relates to the employee’s reactions and potential outcomes.
- Who should and should not conduct the termination or be present in the termination meeting.
- How location makes a lot of difference in how the employee feels, reacts, and responds following the termination.
- The benefit of keeping the meeting brief and sticking to a script during the termination process.
- The ideal time of the day and day within the week to conduct the termination.
- Resources and services to provide to employees with to assist them following the termination and keep them focused on the future instead of brooding on the past.
- The importance of having security personnel present during a termination, their responsibilities, and recommended capability.
- Post-termination details to coordinate with security, reception, and HR.
- The traits of armed individuals – comparing and contrasting lawful weapon holders with armed attackers or criminals.
- Body language, behavioral characteristics, and clothing cues to look out for to be able to recognize individuals that may be concealing weapons and are posing a risk to a workplace.
- Strategos’ approach and comprehensive and proactive solutions offered to prevent workplace violence.
Questions from the webinar audience are about:
- Mitigating a threat posed by someone who still has remaining ties, through friends or a spouse, in the organization.
- Applying the strategies to multiple personnel layoffs.
- How to best approach a person who is illegally armed and uncooperative.
- Managing an aggressive individual in the workplace, or those exhibiting aggressive behavior albeit involved in self-growth activities.
- Trespass warning to keep former employees away from the workplace.
- The benefit of doing terminations late in the day.
Resources and Handouts
- “…This is a subject that needs more emphasis in every business environment. ” –Craig
- “Really enjoyed the tips to take when terminating a high-risk employee: Don’t have certain people in the room, alert the agency and staff re: termination status, completing action on a Monday versus a Friday.” — Loangys
- “I learned about handling tough situations with terminating employees. Additionally, how to pick up cues and behaviors of dangerous situations with unfit employees. How to refer for resources.” — Catherine
- “That I need to continue to stress the importance of not taking for granted all the little things that we see in our daily work.” — Greg
- “Excellent program and presentation!” — Kim
- “What to watch for in a high-risk employee or coworker. Just the subtle gestures that they portray.” — J