10 Quick Tips For Employers To Promote A Supportive Approach Towards Employees With Drug Problems
If we were to examine the two extremes of employers’ views on employees who have drug problems, we would have those who would dismiss them without so much as a goodbye and those who would fully support their recovery and possibly even fund them entering drug rehabs in Perth. Thankfully, far more employers tend towards the latter attitude than the former.
We have to caveat that last statement by saying that we are not advocating that employers should let employees openly use drugs and turn a blind eye to it. Quite the reverse. Drug use serves no one other than criminal drug dealers, and so we most certainly agree the workplace is no place for drug taking.
However, it is also the case that, in our view, drug addiction should be viewed as an illness, and just as you would want someone with a heart or stomach disorder to receive the necessary treatment, then that likewise should apply to someone who is addicted to drugs.
As for how this plays out in the workplace and what the employer’s role should be, much of it will be dictated by what type of business it is and its drug policy, assuming it has one. Some businesses, due to the nature of what they do and the work done by their employees, have no option but to take a zero tolerance to drug use based on health and safety considerations and, in some cases, the law.
However, there are also many businesses that, without ignoring health and safety, have opportunities to take a supportive approach to employees with drug problems. As to what level this is taken to, it will be the decision of the business owner or their management team, with several options available for supporting their workforce if any help is needed, such as counseling or drug rehab.
As for how employers and managers within any business can manage drug policy and specifically help those with drug problems, here are ten quick tips which are proven to work.
#1 – Clearly define the role that you and your managers play in overseeing drug policy, spotting warning signs, highlighting where a problem might exist, and putting forward an employee who may need support.
#2 – Ensure all members of management are trained in what actions they should take should an incident occur that may be attributable to an employee’s use of drugs.
#3 – Ensure that everyone is aware of the company’s drug policy, emphasizing the supportive culture you wish to create so that employees feel comfortable coming forward if needed.
#4 – Designate at least one senior manager or someone within your HR team as the key contact employees should contact if they wish to avail themselves of support and related resources.
#5 – As well as being fully trained on your drug policy, provide senior managers and other key personnel access to drug and other addictive substances training, including how to communicate with those affected.
#6 – Ensure that all managers are aware that, for drug policy-related conversations between them and an employee, they are aware of what should remain confidential and what should be recorded.
#7 – Make managers aware that they should not try to ‘solve’ an employee’s drug problem themselves but instead know how and where to refer them for professional support, including drug rehab.
#8 – Encourage managers to devise solutions and offer flexibility within the workplace so those with drug problems can get the necessary support, such as flexible working, reduced hours, or job sharing.
#9 – Insist managers review all working practices to identify where high-stress levels might contribute to increased drug usage and for the well-being of all your workforce.
#10 – Ensure management has plans and support in place for employees returning to work following a period in residential drug rehab, counseling, or other drug support programs.