New research shows staff fear and stress is a leading concern for businesses subjected to criminal activity.
12 September 2023. New research released today shows a growing concern among businesses in Ireland about the impact of criminal activity on staff. 64% of those surveyed were victims of crime in the past year and 24% cited staff intimidation or abuse as the most common form of criminal activity they had experienced.
The research also shows that criminal activity had profound psychological and physical effects on a staff members of the businesses affected:
- Fear and stress among employees was the leading concern of businesses asked about the impact of criminal activity (30%)
- 23% experienced a loss of staff or a need for leaves of absence due to criminal activity, up from 7% of businesses responding in 2021
- 13% noted physical injuries to their staff, up from 9% of businesses in 2021
Looking to the future, staff intimidation or abuse is the second most concerning form of criminal activity mentioned by 37% of businesses, after robbery/burglary. This is the first time that staff intimidation or abuse has appeared in Netwatch’s research and is a significant concern for organisations, particularly those with over 50 employees, where 42% of the cohort cited the issue
The survey was conducted by Amárach Research on behalf of Netwatch Security. In total 255 completed interviews were conducted with decision makers across a wide range of organisations countrywide from the 24th May to 21st June 2023.
Leisha McGrath, a work and occupational psychologist who reviewed the report, emphasised the importance of psychological safety in the workplace and the financial impact of staff well-being: She said: “The personal and psychological safety of employees should always be of concern for employers, especially where there is any risk of criminal activity or socially undesirable behaviour directed at them. There is a direct correlation between an organisation actively ensuring a culture of safety and support, and its ability to attract, engage and retain staff. No one should ever feel unsafe at work. Safe and supported employees are more productive, and are more likely to stay with the organisation, and to speak positively about their employer outside of work.”
Colin Hayes, Netwatch managing director for Ireland and UK, commented: “This year’s report highlights an upward trend on business attitudes towards security, with a marked increase in those who perceive security an essential or high business priority.
“We continue to see businesses concerned about data breaches (39%) and IT systems failures (46%) with both on the rise since the 2021 survey, but what has become clear this year is the increased concerns about the impact of criminal activity. Crime is reported to be costing business over €30,000 but the unseen, human impact is becoming evident through staff absence and loss of staff due to negative events. That organisations are taking supporting staff seriously, is a positive step for Irish business; and particularly in today’s climate of near full employment, it also makes good business sense. Doing all we can to support staff by where possible, preventing or deterring criminals, and helping employees during and after negative events is in everyone’s best interests.”