Survey reveals shocking levels of abuse against retail and hospitality staff – yet NFU Mutual says businesses are not taking action to minimise violence

    Violence and abuse against retail and hospitality staff has skyrocketed during COVID-19

      • Sector News
    • 21.04.21

    Approximately 40% of customers have witnessed a staff member suffer verbal or physical abuse at a retail or hospitality venue in the past year, yet businesses are not implementing measures to minimise workplace violence, research by NFU Mutual has revealed. 

    According to the survey, supermarkets are the worst affected, with 31% of customers witnessing an incident there, followed by high street shops (20%), pubs (18%), and restaurants (16%).

    However, despite these figures, researchers found that almost half of businesses they surveyed do not take any measures to minimise the risk of workplace violence.

    Speaking about the findings, Frank Woods, retail sector specialist at NFU Mutual, said:

    Taking action to prevent retail violence is a crucial step in protecting staff welfare. Insurance can provide cover against legal action, injuries, and property damage, but businesses should make additional preparations.

    We would urge employers to put tailored measures in place, especially provision of appropriate staff training. Not only does training ensure staff are prepared to deal with incidents, it could prove important to a retailer’s reputation, and influence a consumer’s future shopping habits. Forty percent of consumers said they would be more likely to return to a venue if a retail violence incident was well-handled.

    British Retail Consortium: Customers must play their part for safe reopening
    British Retail Consortium: Reopening means respecting shop workers
    Maybo: Requests for retail staff to enforce mask-wearing and social distancing rules creating a flashpoint for abuse
    Retail Gazette: Retailers join Home Office to launch campaign against staff abuse
    Retail Gazette: Retail CEOs join forces to champion staff wellbeing
    Retail Gazette: Abuse towards shopworkers “worsening since Covid”, MPs hear
    Talking retail: Almost half of consumers have witnessed attacks on shopworkers, research reveals
    Talking Retail: Police and retailers must ‘work more closely’ to tackle violence against shopworkers

    Maybo perspective

    • Retail and hospitality workers have experienced increasing levels of violence in recent years and ‘COVID Conflict’ has taken this to new heights.
    • There is only so much staff can be expected to do, and care is needed even when simply asking a customer to comply with government restrictions as situations can escalate quickly.
    • Maybo training programmes equip staff to deal with potential conflict flashpoints, such as restrictions, at the level expected for their role. We also provide support on policy and guidance.
    • Our comprehensive training options include our latest eLearning course: Reducing Conflict and Violence Risks: COVID:19 Edition click here

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