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By Ollie C | 19 June, 2019 Published in Resources
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Alcoholism isn’t to be taken lightly in any context.

But, this is even more vital in the workplace setting. It’s an issue that human resource personnel simply can’t ignore.

What’s even worse is the fact that employees who struggle with alcohol addiction have admitted to drinking in the office at least one time over the course of the year.

Not only knowing what to say but also how to approach the employees they are going to speak with.

What this means for employers, namely HR personnel, is that they have to perform due diligence in screening employees and new applicants.

This ensures the workplace is safe from alcohol abuse and dependency concerns.

In the event human resource staff need to address the issue and discuss alcoholism concerns with employees, it’s important that they have the appropriate tools to do so.

This not only makes for an easier conversation but also eliminates any bias or concern of complaints being made by an employee who is confronted regarding an issue of alcoholism or dependency concerns.

Why Treatment Benefits All Parties

Reports from the National Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Council in the USA reported that over $81 million was spent on issues revolving around employee alcohol use and addiction in the workplace.

We believe a similar situation is faced by employees in the UK.

Some of these costs are linked to

  • Fatalities
  • Healthcare costs
  • Worker’s comp
  • Injuries
  • Theft, and other issues in the workplace

Furthermore, legal costs to represent the employer is also tagged onto this figure, which is costing employers more than they’d like to pay as it relates to alcoholism-related issues in the workplace.

By implementing treatment options for employees who struggle with alcohol addiction, employers can greatly reduce this cost.

Not only do employees get the help they need, but it also helps with industry-related and institutional knowledge.

It is going to be harder for employers to hire and retain new employees if applicants know about drug and alcohol-related employee loss.

Furthermore, this can affect relationships with clients in a particular industry.

The cost to replace employees is anywhere from 25 to 200%, meaning it’s easier and cheaper to get employees the help they need through treatment, rather than seek out new employees.

Utilising EAPs and Employee Resources

An employee assistance program (EAP) is not only affordable but an invaluable option for employees in need of assistance. Costing less than $50/employee/year, it’s well worth the investment cost.

Dating back to 2013, fewer than 5% of employees in need of assistance utilised these EAPs. And, even though they are in place with many companies, employers aren’t suggesting often enough that their employees utilise them.

Although it isn’t clear why employees aren’t using EAPs, employers should send out a notification to employees that they’re available.

Encourage employees, discuss the option, and let them know the resource is there. It’s far more likely to get used in that instance.

Relapse Concerns are Common and Employers Must Understand This

A drug rehab course or other assistance programs, don’t “cure” individuals of alcoholism or drug addiction. Think of addiction as any other chronic disease. It requires ongoing treatment; in the event of drug and alcohol abuse, nearly 60% of those who go into rehab and get help, struggle with issues of relapse in the future.

HR personnel can step in and speak to employees if they notice concerning or alarming behavioural patterns.

For example, if employees are late, missing work, or acting in a manner that they did when they struggled with addiction, it’s worth speaking to them.

And, it’s important to note that HR teams shouldn’t be confrontational, but rather, should have open dialect with employees regarding their behaviours.

Addiction Comes in Package Form (Often)

If individuals struggle with an issue like dependence or addiction, it’s likely they struggle with depression or some kind of mental health disorder as well.

Although this isn’t always the case, research suggests it is common for sufferers to struggle with other health conditions or disorders. Some disorders which are commonly linked to addiction include

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Multiple personality disorders
  • Trauma

In many cases, employees who struggle with addiction might also require behavioural treatment as well. This comes in the form of therapy, psychiatric help, or focus groups, to help individuals struggling with the disorders overcome them.

Some employees will require ongoing treatment, others will often be prescribed medication. Each case dictates a different treatment form and course.

HR personnel should be aware of any conditions or disorders employees struggle with or suffer from, in order to ensure they’re getting the appropriate help they require.

And, in the event the employee requires ongoing care, the HR team can check up with employees regularly, to discuss the treatment and whether or not it is helping them to cope with the struggles they are going through.

Managers and Supervisors Should be Educated on Abuse Topics

Numerous studies indicate employees who know their supervisors and managers are monitoring them and are aware of substance abuse issues, are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.

As a company, it’s worth the cost of training managers and supervisors on spotting the signs of abuse.

They’ll not only have the tools to discuss the issue with an employee if necessary, but it is also going to help them know what signs to look for, in the event they believe an employee might be abusing drugs or alcohol.

If an employer knows what the warning signs of abuse are, they can talk to employees and inform appropriate HR staff of these issues as well.

Addiction is an issue around the world. Both drug and alcohol addiction is common, and many employees in several industries are currently struggling with issues related to these addictions.

As an employer and as HR staff, it’s important to understand the signs, know how to discuss the concerns, and to remain abreast on the latest research, in order to ensure you can take appropriate steps to help employees if they are going through any addictive behaviours.

Don’t struggle alone

Don’t wait until you or your loved one reach crisis point. If you feel you may require rehab, we can assist you by offering you a free telephone assessment. 

Contact us today to discuss the options that are available, from normal rehab centres to those that can provide individualised treatments that consider your circumstances and fulfil all your requirements. 

You can contact us on 0800 140 4690.  Alternatively, you may contact us via this website.

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