HR Hartley

Back to basics to handle Neanderthals

Attacks on staff are on the increase. Well, at least that’s what they say; I
reckon incidents are just being better reported.

But whether the yo-yo of violence is rising or falling, you’ve still got to
work out how to protect your staff in the workplace.

Jo Rick, a researcher with the Institute of Employment Studies, recently
told Personnel Today that a lot of organisations are getting better at telling
their customers what unacceptable behaviour is.

She said it should be made obvious that if a customer behaves in a certain
way, service will be withdrawn. She made reference to posters on buses and
other such locations.

This seems to forget one point – these are not reasonable people you are
dealing with. Some may not even be able to read.

Rick mentioned practical training to deal with such people, which is more
like it. The training is about using soft skills, such as recognising body
language, and utilising your voice by speaking slowly and lowly.

If you have customer-facing staff, I recommend they all get this training
forthwith. Imagine it was you forced to face a Neanderthal with an attention
deficit disorder – you wouldn’t like it one bit.

On the flip-side, I turned on the TV to see one of my managers in Portugal
proudly displaying his English heritage as he launched a chair through the
window of a bar.

Fortunately, we have a subsidiary which is a contract glazier, so the
offending chap got a pay rise.

Hartley is an HR director at large

Comments are closed.