sociale veiligheid

Workplace social safety

InnerVoice recently conducted an extensive employee survey in the Dutch workplace to assess workplace safety and analyze the effectiveness of safety measures within Dutch organizations. The results provide in-depth insights into overall workplace safety and offer practical guidelines for improvement.

One out of every ten Dutch employees experiences recurring or regular incidents of inappropriate behavior at work
Our research indicates that 10% of Dutch employees are repeatedly or regularly confronted with inappropriate behavior at work, highlighting the importance of maximizing workplace safety. InnerVoice conducted an extensive study on workplace inappropriate behavior among 1000 employees in the Netherlands, revealing that 10% of employees were repeatedly or regularly confronted with such behavior. The most common forms include verbal intimidation (50%), sexual harassment (40%), and bullying and exclusion (30%). Interestingly, in many of these cases, supervisors are involved (25%), indicating that there is room for improvement in workplace safety.

Reporting inappropriate behavior internally is often challenging
Additionally, our research shows that nearly 80% of organizations have appointed a confidential counselor, a significant step towards ensuring maximum workplace safety. However, in practice, we observe that the majority of employees facing inappropriate behavior at work hesitate to report it to a confidential counselor for various reasons.
Colleagues are often responsible for such behavior rather than supervisors
A striking conclusion from our research is that colleagues are frequently the ones exhibiting inappropriate behavior at work, with more than half of the cases of verbal intimidation (50%) and aggression or violence (46%) attributed to colleagues. Bullying and exclusion are even more frequently associated with colleagues by more than six out of ten respondents. Moreover, sexual harassment primarily occurs among colleagues, with 60% indicating that supervisors or managers are rarely the perpetrators.

Social safety is a critical requirement for a healthy and productive work environment
Ensuring social safety in the workplace is essential for creating a healthy and productive work environment. Scientific evidence supports the idea that working in a socially unsafe environment has significant consequences for the mental and physical well-being of employees. This can result in increased stress at work and beyond, reduced productivity and engagement, and ultimately, more absenteeism and employee turnover.

There are compelling reasons to develop and implement preventive policies against unwanted behavior. To guarantee maximum workplace safety, we recommend that organizations take the following steps:

1. Establish and communicate clear norms and values.
2. Appoint a confidential counselor.
3. Implement a transparent complaints procedure.
4. Optimize workplace conditions.
5. Provide training for supervisors and HR personnel.
6. Conduct regular research on social safety in the workplace, for example, as part of employee engagement surveys (MBO or MTO).
7. Foster an open dialogue with employees about their experiences and needs concerning this issue.
8. Consistently address issues when necessary.

Listening to the individual experiences and needs of employees
Recent studies have shown that each organization and sector faces specific challenges related to inappropriate behavior at work and workplace health. Each employee has their unique story and context. It is crucial to listen to the individual experiences and needs of employees and actively involve them in finding solutions. Engaging in an open dialogue with employees is more relevant than ever.

Do you want to learn how to begin listening? Would you like to gain more insight into how employees perceive workplace safety in your organization? Then please contact me, and we will explore research possibilities together.

Questions or you would like to know more?
I am happy to help you


Anne Branger

Managing Director