How to Help Your Employees Avoid Addiction
When an employee at any level of a company is suffering from a serious addiction, it can hurt the entire business. But even if it’s from a managerial perspective, addressing someone’s addiction often feels outside of a typical job description. And it very well may be.
However, if an employee is struggling with an addiction, even if the addiction is largely being satisfied outside of the workplace, it can have an effect on the company’s innerworkings. Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent addiction development, as well as identify potential problems. Here are just a few.
Know the Signs of Addiction
Before you can help your employees, you need to understand the signs of addiction. Obviously, a decline in job performance is one possible sign, but there can be countless reasons for missing a deadline or turning in subpar work. You’ll also want to look out for employees who are frequently sick or coming to work late, but again, the potential reasons abound.
A more uniquely overt identifier is when an employee suddenly starts demonstrating behavioural problems or struggling to get along with his or her co-workers, which could point toward an addiction problem. It also helps to document these signs so there’s a record of the employee’s struggle. Even if the problem isn’t related to addiction, if an employee is exhibiting more than one of these signs, it’s likely something is wrong, and doing something about it will benefit the company in the long run.
Initiate Formal Policies
A business should have formal policies in place for any problem that could potentially arise in the workplace, including an employee who may be battling an addiction. For example, employees could read and sign a formal document that lets them know that alcohol, drugs, and other vices cannot interfere with their ability to do their job. This will create a basis that can make it easier to intervene and speak with an employee about a potential addiction if you notice a change in job performance.
Enabling Is Counterproductive
If you spot potential signs of an addiction, don’t just ignore them. Even if you aren’t sure an employee has a problem, you shouldn’t enable their behaviour by allowing things to get worse. Don’t cover up, make excuses, or try to rationalise a person’s bad behaviour in the workplace. Part of helping an individual recognise that they may have a problem is allowing them to face consequences of their actions.
So if an employee’s behaviour is wreaking havoc on his/her life as well as company life, hold them responsible for their mistakes; otherwise, you’re allowing it to continue unchecked, making it more likely that person will slip deeper into their addiction beyond your capacity to step in.
Take Action Quickly
When it comes to addiction, the sooner the problem can be recognised and treated, the better. When you suspect that an employee has a growing addiction, confront them in a professional manner as soon as possible. If you’ve been documenting their recent behaviour, you’ll have evidence to show them that something is wrong. Proof will also make it harder for them to deny that they have a problem.
It’s not enough to confront an employee with an addiction, you have to offer a solution. Let them know that the company will support their treatment, even if it requires going to an addiction rehab centre. Assure them that if they need to take time off to get help, they’ll still have a job when they’re ready to come back to work. Remember, this isn’t just about your business – this is a person in need of help.