It’s difficult to imagine the devastation that took place last week
in Manchester, Connecticut, when an employee shot and killed eight co-workers.
People are speculating whether or not this was race related or if this
was the result of a disgruntled employee, who went crazy. I’m guessing
we will never know what happened the day that life changed forever at
But here is what we do know. Companies can greatly reduce the likelihood of
this happening in their organizations by taking preventative measures.
1. Do a thorough job with your hiring process. I’m not talking about
hiring someone because you have a hunch they will be good. Do your
diligence. Bring candidates in for interviews and involve others in the
organization in the hiring process. Ask questions that will enable you
to discover patterns that exist in everyone. Do thorough reference
checks, which means not giving up when someone says they can’t tell you
more than name, rank and serial number.
2. Provide your employees access to an EAP (Employee Assistance Program)
before they reach the end of their rope. This is a place where employees
can confidentially discuss issues that are weighing them down. Already
have an EAP? Great, now let people know this, as most employees haven’t
got a clue this resource is available free of charge.
3. Take all accusations of harassment seriously. If need be, call in a
third-party to investigate so that all parties feel heard.
4. Keep the lines of communication open. Make sure employees know they can
approach the owner or President with their concerns, without going
through the chain of command that often stops people in their tracks.
5. Talk to your employees. This event has shaken up many people, who used
to feel secure at work. Give them an opportunity to discuss their fears
in a safe setting. Discuss the measures your organization is taking to
beef up security in your workplace.
We hope and pray this will be the last incident of workplace that we read
about. However in situations like this, prayer isn’t enough. Take action
today to secure the future of your workforce.
Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions and author of the forthcoming book, Suddenly in
Charge! Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, January 2011). Visit Roberta’s Blog on the Generations at
Work or her Linked-in Group Suddenly in
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