Addiction Affects 20% of the Workforce – That includes Yours!
Do you know how much employee substance abuse is costing your company?
It could be in the thousands of dollars a year.
Facts About Employee Substance Abuse
- Research shows an addicted employee can cost employers $7000 per employee per year.
- Employees who abuse substances are 25% – 30% less productive than employees who do not abuse drugs.
- Addicted employees usage of health benefits is 1.5 – 2 times higher than that of non-abusers.
- Accidents, decreased productivity, and increase in workplace violence and harassment – due to addicted employees carry legal ramifications and your organization is responsible criminally and civilly.
- Addicted employees increase workplace turnover due to lowered productivity, morale, accidents etc.
- 20% of workers say they have been injured, have had to cover for a coworker, or needed to work harder because of another employee’s drinking.
The Problem of Dealing with Addiction in Your Workplace
- The effects of substance abuse on your workplace are mostly hidden and difficult to detect. Co-workers tend to cover for one another and substance abusers don’t normally self disclose. They often deny the problem because of the stigma of being labeled an alcoholic or addict and the threat of possible losses: job, home and family.
- Your corporation’s human resource department might not have the knowledge or a protocol to follow in relation to employee substance abuse. There are many issues to take into consideration when addressing this issue including human rights and legal issues related to dealing with an employee with chemical dependency.
- Your supervisors and managers likely lack the expertise necessary to effectively approach and talk with a suspected substance-abusing employee. Knowing what to say and how to talk to an employee with a possible substance abuse problem requires special knowledge to prevent labeling an employee inappropriately or breaking legal confidentiality.
- Employee Assistance programs are often ineffective. You will have to make some unique decisions including how do I approach the problem employee? How do we help the employee? Who will pay for treatment? Should the employee pay in part? How do we follow up after treatment to ensure the employee is safe to return to work and staying clean and sober?
- Employees who are substance abusers can pose unique problems because chemical dependency is considered a disability and there are real human rights to consider. If your company has a clear policy on substance abuse in the workplace that is well communicated to employees you can be protected from costly litigation.
- Making the tough decision whether to fire or retain the employee. Your company has invested much in recruiting, hiring, training and paying your employee. A recovered employee post-treatment might have specialized or rare skills and knowledge as well as be more conscientious, reliable, and productive than others.
Your Organization Can Solve Substance Abuse Problems in Your Workplace.
Your workplace can become safer and more productive.
The good news is that although addiction is a chronic, degenerative, progressive and fatal illness, it can be arrested and recovery is possible.
Damage to your employee and your workplace can be repaired. There is real hope for employees getting clean and sober and returning to their jobs with renewed dedication, creativity and productivity.
The workplace has been shown to have the most important leverage in helping employees recover from chemical dependency.
The threat of losing one’s job affects basic survival more so than losing family and friends. With effective policy and procedures you can expect good compliance with a large number of employees.
How Your Company Can Benefit From an Alcohol And Drug-Free Workplace
- Staff morale
- Employee motivation & creativity
- Customer satisfaction
- Customer retention
- Positive public image
You can’t afford to ignore the addicted employee in your workplace. When you avoid taking action, you risk enabling the addiction to progress at a huge cost to the organization and your employees. Smart pre-planning avoids confusion, frustration and costly mistakes when the time comes to address a crisis in your workplace.
A Drug Free Workplace Program Includes:
- A Drug Free Workplace Policy stating your organizations’ position on alcohol and drug use in the workplace, along with clear guidelines for employees seeking assistance and terms of return to work following treatment.
- Supervisor Training establishes supervisors and managers roles in implementing your policy, including how to identify and approach an employee who might have job performance problems related to addiction. Supervisors and managers will learn to feel confident dealing effectively with employees who have alcohol and drug problems.
- Employee Training conveys to employees your organization’s stance on addiction in the workplace and how employees can get help and what to do if a colleague at work appears to have an addiction problem. Employee training increases the chances that employees will come forward when they, or a colleague is struggling with a substance abuse problem.
- Assessments and Counselling involves a thorough assessment by a qualified addictions specialist and targets areas for rehabilitation for the employee and makes treatment recommendations. Counselling is helpful for the employee when they decide to stop drinking or using and helps them with relapse prevention and develops healthy coping mechanisms.
- Monitoring is a process whereby an agreement is made between the employee, the organization and the monitor that helps ensure the employee stays clean and sober upon returning to work. It includes participation in a twelve step program and urine testing.
You’ll feel so much better with a clear, legally sound policy and procedures to deal with the addicted employee. Your managers can feel competent to address the addicted employee and help them get the help that they need and return to work more productive, happier and healthier.
Contact Gina Vanderham for more information on establishing a drug-free workplace program in your organization.
Gina Vanderham has specialized in addiction recovery for over 20 years. She provides consulting for addictions in the workplace including policy development, manager training, employee education, assessments, and monitoring for employees.
Please call me in Vancouver, BC for a free telephone consultation at 604.733.7428 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and see how I can help your corporation.