My concern for people’s safety and well-being has been a theme throughout my entire career. If you’ve read my blogs or connected with me in other ways, you know that I often credit that to my roots in law enforcement. My time in LE imparted valuable skills that molded me into the leader I am today.
My early career in law enforcement lends itself to my understanding of threat management and safety best practices – from early intervention to support for people in crisis. This knowledge is something that organically fits into everything I do and everywhere I go. So, it naturally became an essential part of my vision when I became the CEO of Sikich.
It was important to me that everyone across our organization understand how to assess risks, identify concerning behaviors, and speak up to report those behaviors and prevent incidents. Our organization engaged the support of a workplace threat and violence risk management firm to teach our company how to prevent violence in the workplace. Year after year, we have increased our understanding and preparedness as these violence risk management experts work with us on extensive employee training.
When the opportunity arose for those threat and violence risk management experts to join Sikich, we didn’t hesitate. Our organization welcomed the workforce risk management team to the Sikich services portfolio and quickly got to work offering a full scope of services, arming more organizations with valuable skills and knowledge.
At the start of 2020, I said, “I believe strongly that the CEO sets the organization-wide tone on this vitally important issue, (workforce safety). It’s not an HR issue. It’s not a facilities issue. It’s a CEO issue.” Here’s why, two years later, I still believe this to be true:
What is Workforce Risk Management?
In short, workforce risk management is the practice of protecting people by creating safer workplaces through program support, training and threat management. Today, the broad definition of a “workplace” extends beyond the four walls of a physical office building to people’s homes, client sites, communities and more. And preventive systems cover all the potential points that connect someone or something to the workplace. The practice prepares organizations, leaders, managers and employees to recognize, report and respond to behavioral concerns with an added emphasis on early intervention – meaning, ways to eliminate violence before it starts.
Mental Health Support
Protecting people includes making sure everyone has access to tools and resources that support their mental well-being. It’s often more difficult, in a remote work world, to recognize colleagues’ challenges – whether they’re unhappy, burned out or lagging. That’s why the workforce risk management practice has evolved to meet the demands of a modern workforce by helping business leaders and their employees recognize and manage violence risks that connect to stress, burnout, depression and other mental health challenges.
A CEO’s Responsibility
Leaders across industries need to be proactive in addressing the dramatic shift in the way we recognize and protect our employees and workplaces. Investing in creating a safe, healthy and thriving workforce is the personal responsibility of every business leader. It is my hope that a practice like the workforce risk management team can support leaders in setting or resetting priorities and aligning capabilities that support workers, engage and retain talent, create more opportunities for inclusion and growth, and strengthen the overall safety and well-being of the workplace.