I’ve been working around customer aggression and workplace violence for close to 15 years now. In that time, I’ve worked amongst a variety of industries including, but not limited to:
- Hospitality and liquor retail
- Private security
- Hotel and resort industry
- Hospitals and healthcare
- Human services and community support roles
- Travel and aviation
- Funeral industry
- Service stations and late-night retail
- Fast food
- Government service centres
- Local council functions (parking, waste management, etc.)
All of these industries have had their own issues with customer aggression and workplace violence. Whether we like to admit it or not, when we put our people into customer-facing roles, we expose them to the risk of aggression. In roles where they will occasionally either give someone unwanted news or deal with alcohol and/or drug affected persons, that risk is magnified.
To their credit, I haven’t had a single client or employer who simply didn’t care about their staff being abused or assaulted at work. Everyone I spoke to agreed that not feeling safe at work wasn’t acceptable. They had all, to some degree, implemented treatments to control that risk.
So why wasn’t it working?
After 15 years of researching and working in this field, these are the most common mistakes I’ve found well-intentioned organisations making.