Case Study #1
Workplace Violence Avoided

Strategic Pathways conducted a survey for staff working in several different municipal departments of a city situated in Western Canada.

Our findings in this process helped diffuse a potentially violent confrontation.

Our assessments aren’t your typical engagement surveys. We pride ourselves on what we call our “proprietary interview method.”

Our Method Works

Returning to the example of our municipal government client, several employees in one department commented on the workplace stress caused by ongoing conflict between a supervisor and a frontline staff member.  

 

We learned the staff member was on stress leave, and the consensus seemed to indicate dread at the thought of his return.

 

We went through the usual process, an advance meeting, the survey itself, and the follow up meeting with the offer of the toll-free phone number for more information that could be contributed anonymously.

 

Shortly after the initial survey results had been shared with staff members, we received some phone calls in which people told us the staff member on stress leave had, on several occasions, suggested he might kill his supervisor. 

 

 

Understandably, this kind of behaviour was incredibly worrisome for staff, and they didn’t know where to turn to express their concerns. Through our interview process, the person’s coworkers shared their fears of a violent confrontation upon this person’s return to work.

Strategic Pathways
Proprietary Interview System
Four Steps

We use a four-step process whenever we begin our information-gathering projects with clients. Because of this, we’ve always enjoyed high participation rates and extreme accuracy.

MEET

We meet with all staff members prior to distribution of our survey.

Most workplace information gathering efforts skip this entirely, which is a big mistake.

If you don’t explain to your group what their role and purpose of the survey is, you have little chance in getting them to buy in and participate.

SURVEY

The next step is for employees and employers to fill out our proprietary surveys.

We have complied more than two thousand questions over thirty years of surveying workplaces. We use this question database to create a survey just for you. We work closely with you to ensure our questions are tailored to your needs.

FOLLOW UP

We also meet with staff after the survey has been completed. During that meeting, we share some of the common results. This has a deeply validating effect.

In hearing their problems being taken seriously and perhaps echoed by their peers, employees are more likely to participate in the process.

PHONE

Our next step at this meeting is to provide our toll-free phone numbers to allow staff to anonymously contribute any additional information they’ve thought of that might be valuable to the process.

Often employees are inspired to add additional information through the toll-free number. Some of the most detailed and valuable information comes after the initial survey happens.

More Than Preventing Conflict

Returning to the example of our municipal government client, several employees in one department commented on the workplace stress caused by ongoing conflict between a supervisor and a frontline staff member.  

 

We learned the staff member was on stress leave, and the consensus seemed to indicate dread at the thought of his return.

 

We went through the usual process, an advance meeting, the survey itself, and the follow up meeting with the offer of the toll-free phone number for more information that could be contributed anonymously.

 

Shortly after the initial survey results had been shared with staff members, we received some phone calls in which people told us the staff member on stress leave had, on several occasions, suggested he might kill his supervisor. 

 

Understandably, this kind of behaviour was incredibly worrisome for staff, and they didn’t know where to turn to express their concerns. Through our interview process, the person’s coworkers shared their fears of a violent confrontation upon this person’s return to work.

When Communication Means Safety

Information of this type, even unsubstantiated, is extremely alarming. Our standard practice is to immediately contact the client and inform them of what has been communicated to us anonymously, so that they can take the appropriate steps to protect their workers.

 

We received these calls on a Sunday and I called our client that evening, unaware that the employee was scheduled to return to work from stress leave the following morning.

 

Our client was obviously troubled by this information, and company management agreed there was sufficient risk to notify the police.

 

The following morning when the employee returned to work, he was met by two police officers for an interview. 

 

 

Shockingly, the employee acknowledged that he had brought a knife with an 8-inch blade with him. His reasoning was, “just in case my boss gets in my face, because I am not going to take his —- anymore.”

Four Steps to Critical Information

This is not the norm.

 

When conducting interviews and talking with staff and organizations it is rare for us to receive information as extreme and dangerous as this.

 

We have, however, long been of the opinion that the biggest risk leaders face is what they don’t know about their business. 

 

 

While this is an outlier case, it is absolutely not unusual for us to surprise our clients with critical information that comes from their team as a result of our proprietary interview method.