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1 in 4 Employees Have Witnessed Workplace Violence in the Last 5 Years

Traliant, an innovator in online compliance training, announced its new workplace report Fear Factors: A 2024 Employee Survey Report on Workplace Violence, Harassment, and Mental Health. Compiled from a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. employees, the study assesses the reality of how employees are experiencing workplace violence, misconduct, and mental health in the workplace. Most notably, the survey reveals that almost one in four respondents have witnessed workplace violence happening to another employee in the last five years and 12% have been the target of workplace violence themselves. 

With the rise of hybrid work and the heightened awareness of issues like sexual harassment, employees have a whole new set of factors they must deal with in today’s workplace. While there may have been many positive elements for workers, such as more flexibility, employers need to be aware of negative influences that have employees feeling anxious about their safety, such as the rise of violent incidents in the workplace.

“Many employers are unaware, or surprised to learn, the realities of what their employees experience when it comes to workplace safety and mental health,” says Make Dahir, CEO of Traliant. “This not only poses a risk to businesses from a reputational and legal standpoint, but also prevents employees from bringing their best selves to work. Today’s most successful employers will both understand and meet employees’ needs for safe workplaces.”  

The report examines the key areas employers can better protect their business and how they need to address the realities of employee safety and well-being, especially as new threats and concerns continue to emerge.  

  • Knowledge and preparedness are the best assets to overcome safety concerns. While the majority (70%) of respondents have received training on workplace violence, this leaves nearly a third of employees who have not received training – a big gap employers need to close as soon as possible or risk exposing themselves and employees to potential consequences like reputational harm or costly litigation.  
  • Employees need training on how to de-escalate and respond to potentially violent situations. An overwhelming majority (90%) of those surveyed believe other states should adopt similar policies to California’s new workplace violence prevention law that requires employers to adopt workplace violence prevention plans, maintain records of any threats or incidents of workplace violence, and provide effective training to workers on workplace violence.  
  • Employees need safe channels for reporting their concerns. Only 44% of workers strongly agree that their employers promote a speak-up culture, where employees can report misconduct without fear of retaliation.  
  • Employees need to trust their employers have their back when it comes to mental health. A strong majority (86%) of those surveyed either strongly or somewhat agree employers need to do more to address the mental health needs of employees in the workplace.  

“There is much room for improvement in how employers approach workplace violence prevention,” says Michael Johnson, chief strategy officer at Traliant. “Especially as instances of violence in the workplace grow, preventing workplace violence is the responsibility of all organizations, regardless of the industry or work environment. By prioritizing workplace violence prevention training and taking specific actions to better address the realities of today’s employees, employers can better protect their business and secure a strong position in the workplace tomorrow.”  

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