When it comes to employing different personalities from a variety of backgrounds, it’s almost inevitable that there will be employees who don’t get along. Disagreements are simply a part of life, but escalating arguments can lead to dangerous fights. Employers should be aware of these possibilities and take measures to prevent violence breaking out between employees. Also keep in mind that workers compensation won’t always cover workplace violence for an employee that starts the fight.
Conduct Background Checks
Background checks are always necessary when you’re looking to hire potential employees. This is both to know their previous work experience as well as how they get along with others. Be sure to check with their previous place of employment and criminal record to figure out if they have a history of disagreements or violence. The nature of their departure from previous jobs can be a large indicator.
Have Training and Awareness
All employees should go through team building exercises, de-escalation courses and sensitivity training. Employees will have to work with a variety of different people, both with clients (in many professions) and coworkers. Training your employees to better understand each other and de-escalate situations can avoid workplace violence.
Establish Anti-Violence and Harassment Prevention Policies
Understanding starts from the top. Policies should be in place as guidelines for employees to follow, as well as managers to enforce. This ensures firm consequences for harassment and violence in the workplace. It also prevents favoritism from allowing managers to let certain employee actions go without punishment. It’s important to document each incident and all managers should be aware of possible personality clashes.
Offer Open Communication
Sometimes, anger and arguments can be settled with an open conversation. All employees should be made to feel comfortable speaking their opinions and going to a manager in case they have a problem, especially with another coworker. Allowing employees to express themselves in a calm and open environment can prevent pent up anger from boiling over and causing a physical fight.
Along with monitoring personality differences, it’s important to take action when a manager notices two employees clashing. If possible, try to encourage employees on different shifts than the employee they disagree with. In some cases, an employee may simply clash with everyone, but more often than not, misunderstandings often lead to disagreements and can be solved by distance and patience.