At a time when media reports on transgressive behavior in the workplace abound, the topic of a safe work environment seems more topical than ever. The recent article on, entitled "Cross-border behavior in the workplace: we can't stop talking about it," highlights the need for attention to this topic. In this piece, we look at the causes of undesirable behavior and explore how organizations can prevent and address it.

Effectory director Christian de Waard points out that undesirable behavior has always existed, but now there is more attention to it in the media. Fortunately, he notes that this attention is producing positive changes. Employees feel increasingly safe to bring up undesirable behavior, and there is improvement in following up on complaints.

A crucial factor in preventing undesirable behavior is corporate culture, as employer organization AWVN emphasizes. The responsibility lies with the top of the organization, and leadership plays a key role in this. Leaders must ask themselves critically whether they are setting a good example. Punishing individuals is not enough, according to De Waard; the corporate culture must change, and more and more organizations are realizing this.

An interesting example of an industry in which this realization permeated early on is the flying industry. In the 1970s, an authoritarian culture in the cockpit led to incidents and accidents. To improve this, a new form of manners was introduced where the captain does not make the decisions alone. Crew cooperation is encouraged, with calling each other to account and challenging each other is essential to safety.

While hierarchy is not necessarily negative, it must be functional, according to De Waard. Sometimes it is necessary to make clear who makes decisions in critical situations, which can actually contribute to employee safety.

Research shows that effective communication and transparency are important pillars of a good work environment. A company is considered a good workplace when there is open communication, both about successes and difficulties.

At a time when attention to a safe work environment is essential, organizations must be aware of the role that culture, leadership and communication play. Only by integrating and continuing to improve these elements can we create a work environment where employees feel safe, heard and respected.