The DISTURBED Framework for Curtailing “Employee Rage”

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Nov 16, 2016

Organizations are complex entities and each is governed by a unique set of dynamic circumstances that include both controllable and uncontrollable factors. Any undesirable shift in behaviors in the workplace can be a sign of simmering discontent that can erupt at unpredictable times. These have the potential to seriously damage the employer brand in addition to critically disrupting workplace harmony.

It is imperative that organizations manage any employee rage situations effectively and efficiently. This article focuses on providing a systematic approach to mitigating employee rage situations, e.g., visible anger, demonstrative frustration, verbal discontent, virulent online postings, displayed aggressiveness, vented disagreements, violent confrontations, demeaning behavior, unethical measures, destructive tendencies, etc.

By deploying the “DISTURBED” framework an organization can head off problems before they become critical and thus ensure a harmonious workplace. It has the following 9 elements:

  • Detection of potential/actual employee rage situation.
  • Investigation by a competent team.
  • Source identification for realizing root cause.
  • Taking the approved action after discounting alternatives.
  • Uniform application of the agreed solution in all affected and suspected areas.
  • Reviewing progress periodically for timely corrections.
  • Banishing residual negativity, fear and resentment from the workplace.
  • Engaging employees in an open dialogue through various mediums on an individual, group, functional and organizational level.
  • Devising robust preventive measures as a consequence of the open dialogue and research of proven best practices.

These elements are further divided into three main phases:

  1. Realization: This is focused on ensuring that any problematic areas are timely identified and examined through an insightful study to provide a thorough assessment of the nature and magnitude of the presented challenge(s).
  2. Resolution: This is focused on ensuring that the presented challenges are comprehensively addressed and concrete corrective actions taken to resolve areas of concern in an effective manner
  3. Reformation: This is focused on ensuring that any lingering or wider implications of the challenges are proactively addressed to minimize or eliminate the occurrence of similar situations in the future

The interrelationship of the three phases and the embedded nine elements can be seen as follows:

Disturbed framework graphic 1

The actual process of curtailing employee rage situations can be realized through the following flowchart:

Flowchart of DISTURBED graph 2

Let’s re-visit the three phases to see how the above flowchart enables the effective management of employee rage situations.

Realization Phase

The organization reinforces its management system with a series of formal and informal techniques to gauge the potential of an employee rage situation.

Upon detection of an employee rage situation by the HR/talent management function, an independent team is formed by the head of HR/talent management to conduct an impartial investigation into the respective situation and find the actual root cause that has the potential to adversely impact employee relations and the workplace environment. Once the complete picture of the situation emerges, a formal report is completed and sent to all concerned. This leads to the Resolution Phase.

Resolution Phase

For localized impact, applicable employee grievance procedures are engaged and the situation is resolved amicably. In case of wider implications, a formal review is held under the leadership of senior management and all feasible options are considered by invited participants. At the end of deliberations, the most appropriate solution is implemented. Theprocess is carefully monitored and periodically reviewed to avoid derailing and ensure timely completion of measures in an efficient and effective manner. This leads to the Reformation Phase.

Reformation Phase

This phase comes into play after the situation(s) has/have been effectively resolved. It involves an honest scrutiny of the organization’s core values in terms of their continued. It requires an empathetic ear to employee concerns and devising appropriate solutions. It demands transparency and the willingness to be held accountable for the genuine concerns of aggrieved employees. It involves a “deep cleanse” of the entire organization through an honest and methodical audit that identifies lingering areas of distress and/or potential hazards for the future and astutely suturing the looming gaps with robust preventive measures.

The DISTURBED framework as baseline

The aforementioned framework has been presented as a ‘baseline’, upon which, future strategies can be efficiently and effectively established, developed, implemented, monitored, reinforced and improved to complement the various initiatives within talent management.

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