Do you have a Workplace Violence Policy in Place?

Last week, one of my blogs was titled “How Customer Service is Like a Crime Show”.  What I didn’t know is that when I posted that blog, my brother was travelling on business and a room attendant at the hotel he was staying at found the body of a man in one of her rooms, along with his alleged killer.

The story is tragic.  A man is dead; another man is accused of causing that death.  An unsuspecting woman got up and went into work, expecting another routine day.  Instead she walked into a gruesome scene that is bound to affect her mentally and emotionally.

A few months back, as I was driving to an early morning meeting, access to a restaurant my husband and I have gone to once or twice was blocked off by yellow police tape. Two cruiser cars were sitting in front of the building and the outline of a police officer could be seen through the window.  The previous night, a gang-related shooting took place and a young man died.  Another tragic story and another example of employees forced to deal with a dangerous and very scary situation.

I love the tourism and hospitality industry.  This industry provides many people with their first job experience.  It is fast-paced, it is exciting and it provides opportunities to travel and explore.  Just like any other business though, this industry also has its dark side. There are unscrupulous managers and owners who take advantage of young and inexperienced workers.  And there is the real and ever present danger associated with hundreds of unknown people checking into a hotel or sitting down at a table and ordering a meal or a drink.

By far the majority of customers are honest, hard-working people looking for a comfortable place to rest their heads or enjoy a pleasant meal after a busy day of exploring new sights or meeting new clients.  While the likelihood of a “bad guy” coming in is low, the risk is real and as an industry, it is important that we don’t brush that danger aside as inconsequential or non-existent.

It’s important to clearly identify the risks, to manage that risk and to know right now, what you would do if the unthinkable and terrible happens.  What support will you provide your employees if they are forced to face a dangerous or highly traumatic situation?

Burying your head in the sand, hoping it never happens to you or to your business isn’t an option.  Put your plan in place now. Go ahead and cross your fingers, hoping you never have to use. But if you do, at least you and your team will know what to do.

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