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Workplace Violence, Harassment Among Top Crisis Management Risks, Study Says

Engaging front line employees in a “speak up” culture could be the key to reducing workplace violence and harassment risks, according to a new global crisis management benchmarking report by Ethisphere and Morrison Foerster. While 60% of executives identified cybersecurity as the greatest crisis risk they faced in 2023 and beyond, the health and safety of employees (including workplace violence and accidents) was the second highest at 28%, tied with macroeconomic conditions and climate change. 

Ethisphere also cited data from a recent Culture Report showing that Gen Z and millennial talent may be less likely to report misconduct when they observe it, due to fear of retaliation and the belief that “nothing will change.”  

The crisis report’s findings on how companies are approaching crisis management in the wake of the pandemic included the following tidbits:

  • Almost three-fourths (74%) of companies now have a formal, documented crisis management plan, up from 67% before the pandemic. About 40% of companies reported that the Board of Directors has direct input on the strategy and vision of the plan.

  • The majority (79%) of companies conduct crisis response drills on key risk areas, including events impacting employee health and safety and, to a lesser extent, workplace and executive misconduct and allegations of discrimination or harassment by executives.

  • Best practices for “tabletop exercises” include identifying turnover in the organization to keep contact lists current, running scenarios in which a key player cannot be reached, and understanding escalation paths.

The Ethisphere Culture Report is worth an additional look for its findings regarding how and why misconduct is (or isn’t) reported, which data shows is an integral factor in whether a company’s culture is sufficiently robust to avoid the types of crises discussed above. 

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Authors: Ani Huang

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