Benefits and Compensation, HR Management & Compliance

Behavioral Intervention in the Workplace and its Benefits

Stress in the workplace is now a widespread epidemic. According to extensive research conducted by The American Institute of Stress, 40% of workers reported their job was “very” or “extremely” stressful, and 80% of workers feel stress on the job. And it costs U.S. businesses $190 billion in annual healthcare costs alone—$300 billion in total.  


DrAfter123 / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images

So, employers are beginning to implement behavioral intervention in the workplace to help diminish stress and costs, as well as address other mental health disorders that are caused by severe stress or that lead to more stress.

What Is Behavioral Intervention?

Behavioral intervention in the workplace occurs when an employee experiences a trauma (physical or cognitive) or witnesses another employee undergoing a trauma—a trauma that induces a large amount of stress and leads to new and observable negative behavior(s)—and then reports it.
The employee essentially starts exhibiting signs that he or she is a danger to others and/or to himself or herself, which warrants some sort of immediate intervention. After such negative behavior (i.e., unwarranted outbursts of rage, suicidal thoughts, and extreme apathy and lethargy, etc.) is reported, professionals intervene to help null or correct the negative behavior and reinstate healthy coping skills and more positive behaviors.
Behavioral intervention typically leads to a person’s undergoing some form of cognitive behavioral therapy. But it can involve other stress management techniques and approaches, including relaxation techniques and sometimes even organizational development and/or job redesign.
And according to extensive research involving dozens of studies spanning decades, behavioral intervention inside the workplace is extremely effective and yields many positive results. Below are three of them.

1. Lessens the Number of Violent Incidents

According to The American Institute of Stress, workplace violence is quite common because of stressed employees. As many as 42% of those surveyed even admitted that shouting and verbal abuse are common occurrences in their workplaces.
Luckily, research indicates that certain forms of behavioral intervention can significantly reduce the number of violent incidents and behaviors that occur. And other research provides ample evidence that behavioral therapy can significantly reduce aggression, as well.
What’s more, with an average of 20 workplace homicides occurring in the United States each week, behavioral intervention can also significantly reduce the number of workplace shootings that occur, as well as occurrences of sexual and other forms of discriminatory harassment.

2. Decreases Absenteeism Rates and Presenteeism Rates

When employees are less stressed and anxious at work and are less likely to encounter others’ negative attitudes and behaviors at work, productivity rates will skyrocket overall. And employees who experience less stress and fewer negative attitudes in general, whether they’re caused by their work environments or not, will come to work more often.

3. Can Significantly Lower Healthcare Costs

Stress and negative behaviors can also lead to workplace injuries and accidents, which increase an organization’s healthcare-related costs. And employees who rely on medication long term because of untreated stress and physical symptoms caused by stress can also yield much higher healthcare-related costs.
To cut costs, increase productivity, and work toward eradicating violence and harassment inside your workplace, consider implementing behavioral intervention programs and resources.
Learn more strategies for handling harassment in the workplace when your join Catherine Mattice Zundel, of Civility Partners, for the session: Beyond the Active Shooter: Addressing Bullying, Sexual Harassment, and Domestic Violence, at the Workplace at Workplace Violence Prevention Symposium 2019, in San Antonio, Texas, on March 14-15, 2019. Click here to learn more, or to register today.