Don’t miss Part 1 of Protecting Employees from Addiction.

Protecting employees is essential to the life and success of a business. While there is no cure for addiction, or guaranteed treatment that will work for everyone, prevention is an effort that is worth a business’ time, money, and resources. All of the money required to seek and hire new employees might be saved if a company is already prepared to catch an employee before they fall into the throes of addiction, compromising business productivity and possibly endangering other employees. Drug addiction doesn’t discriminate, and anyone’s best employee could easily slip away. Knowing this is important for anyone who owns or is considering opening a business, as human capital comes with a complete set of needs as any normal person or group of people would also have.

Any employer is justifiably wary of hiring employees who may eventually develop addiction to drugs and alcohol, but there is no way that any company can be guaranteed a team of employees whose difficulties will never interfere with their work. The best companies, however, are always said to be the companies that offer a spectacular work-life balance, plenty of paid time off, and opportunities for growth. Stymying an employee can cause them to feel hopeless or stuck, and this, trivial though it may seem to some, can be enough to lead an employee to abuse drugs for feeling that there is nothing that they can do to elevate themselves. Despite this concern, and despite these seemingly insurmountable challenges to maintaining employee wellness, there are still so many steps that employers can provide that may assist them in the fight against addiction in the workplace.

People who are seeking work, of course, are always lucky to find a place that is willing to make such an investment in their health, and this could be a draw for amazing working people who want to make a new business a better place. It is possible that resources like this could appeal to a person who is already living with addiction, but it is rare that a person living with addiction, particularly if it is severe, seeks a full-time job, and is conscientious of the benefits.

Also important is noting that every business simply isn’t able to protect their employees the way that the most popular workplaces can. The cost of group health insurance plans and giving paid time to employees is a dream come true for the average business owner, with supporting an addicted employee just not feasible for their revenues. Fortunately for struggling employers, there are requisites to meet before they’re required by any state law to provide insurance, or any other benefits, and most businesses aren’t able, financially, or legally, to take deep care of their employees. This doesn’t mean that they will never try – it simply means that, too often, they’re forced to choose between one, and the many.

Comprehensive Health Insurance

employee addictionEvery business that is able should invest in a high-quality, full-coverage health insurance plan for their employees. This investment means workers will be able to receive the kind of medical attention that they will need to continue to help the business to thrive. Every private health insurance doesn’t offer the best plans, but ensuring that your company’s health plans include options to treat addiction to drugs and alcohol is a great step. Even if your company is only able to secure one month of treatment for each employee, this could make the difference in whether or not an employee lives to clock in again.

Few people are aware that residential programs are specifically for people whose addictions are so severe, they’re not able to recover without around-the-clock medical assistance. Many addicted people have reaped the benefits of outpatient treatment with stunning success, garnering positive press through those people who found purpose and success in outpatient therapy.  While offering health insurance can’t prevent addiction to drugs and alcohol, it can be a welcome safety net for employers who need their employee, and employees that need treatment.

Employee Assistance Helpline

A more manageable solution for businesses of all sizes is an employee assistance line. This service can provide therapy and emergency solutions for distressed employees who are having personal or professional difficulties. These services are always confidential, and could be an important step in ensuring employee wellness. Assigning a place and phone number for an employee to call in their time of need is good for addiction prevention, and good for the reputation of the business.

Opportunities for Advancement

There is no worker, anywhere, that enjoys the feeling of being stuck with no chances for advancement. Smaller businesses, of course, will have to get creative if their intent is to promote from within. Something as simple as assigning an engaged employee more responsibilities for their daily tasks adds more meaning to the work, and also shows the employee that their work is valuable. Emotional and strangely intimate as it may sounds, emotional boosts like this will not only make employees feel valued, but it also gives employees a greater purpose in their work, which always benefits a business.

This is where larger businesses have the advantage: larger business have greater revenues, and more opportunities for advancement. In the battle against addiction, a change of scenery can always make a difference. For employees that could be slipping, though, noticing the signs is one thing, but doing something about it is an act of appreciation from any boss to any vulnerable employee.

Schedule a 1 on 1

Individual meetings with employees are extremely common, but less common is calling a meeting like this under the suspicion that an employee may be using drugs. When any business needs to speak with an employee concerning a possible drug problem, it’s important for a manager to never, ever outright accuse an employee of using drugs and alcohol. This can open a huge can of worms, and a manager, even when feeling they have proof, can’t rush to judgement. Employers are always advised to approach the situation with openness and compassion, focusing on the specific behaviors of the employee that has been disruptive or inefficient. While every drug-dependent employee won’t be open to this, step one to assisting any addicted person in a professional setting is speaking to them about how their behavior affects others.

Little steps can make a big difference if an employee is living with addiction. Remember that, should you find yourself needing to speak with an employee due to concerns of drug use, focus on explaining how their behaviors are disruptive.

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.