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4D’s Series Wrap-Up: Managing Employee Behaviors from Distracting to Dangerous

4D’s Series Wrap-Up: Managing Employee Behaviors from Distracting to Dangerous
4D’s Series Wrap-Up: Managing Employee Behaviors from Distracting to Dangerous

By Suzanne Hoffman, Ph.D.

Senior Consultant Baron Center, Inc.

4D’s Series Wrap-Up

So What Does It All Mean?

Bottom line: policy, preparation and protocol are key factors in mitigating these behaviors.

In this series, we have discussed a spectrum of four types of workplace behaviors – distracting, disruptive, disorderly and the dangerous. As we have learned, each of these types of behaviors requires a response that is commensurate with what we are observing from the employee, and that is also in accordance with organizational policies and procedures.

Dealing With the Spectrum of Behaviors: Resources and Response


One very important question is how each of the 4D’s will be addressed in your organization and by whom? For instance, dealing with distracting and disruptive behaviors might start with intervention at an HR and manager level, whereas behaviors of the disorderly type might require a manager and HR intervention, and also security and legal involvement, and perhaps even consultation with a threat assessment professional. Dangerous behaviors will require all of the above and will almost always include contact with law enforcement. Additionally, identification of both internal and external resources as part of your organization’s response is key in being prepared to mitigate these behaviors quickly and safely. In our 20+ years of experience, we have learned that advance preparation pays off significantly in being able to respond quickly and appropriately when these situations arise.

Policy, Preparation, Protocol

The time to develop policies, procedures and immediate response protocols is before an incident occurs. We encourage all organization to look at what currently exists in their work environments to address these behaviors expediently and effectively. Key questions include:

  1. Do you have a workplace violence prevention policy?
  2. Do you have an employee conduct/harassment policy?
  3. Do you train HR and/or Risk management staff to respond to threats and acts of violence? Is there a designated individual within the organization who is trained to coordinate response?
  4. Do you train managers and supervisors about all workplace conduct policies, to recognize signs of trouble and potential violence in an employee, to report all threats to HR or a designated individual within the organization and to manage employee discipline issues?
  5. Do managers and supervisors know where and when to get help from HR?
  6. Are employees trained about policies, and aware of their mandate to report any threats or concerns about violence to their managers, supervisors or HR?
  7. If an incident should occur, do you have external resources that are vetted and ready to respond? i.e. Legal, Threat Assessment Professional, EAP, Security.

As we have learned, strong leaders are prepared to take action to intervene and respond quickly to negative, disruptive and dangerous workplace behaviors, and in fact have a duty to do so in order to provide a peaceful and productive workplace for all employees. We hope this series has been helpful in providing a framework and suggestions for managing such behaviors.


Coming Soon…

Customer Service and Creating a Culture for a Safe Workplace  

Our next four-part series will discuss superior customer service and employee safety: strategies for dealing with low-profile issues to facilitate success with high-profile issues.  


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