As an employer, it’s likely one of your goals to support your workers in both their personal and professional lives. After all, you’ve surely noticed a connection between employees who are happy and healthy and a strong work ethic that benefits your company.
While all businesses aim to support their employees, it’s much easier said than done, especially when it comes to a sensitive and personal subject like an addiction. Addiction can often be a taboo subject in the workplace, and handling issues in the office related to substance use can be uncomfortable and challenging.
As an employer, you have a rare opportunity to promote recovery and engage in your employee’s well-being through recovery. If you’re interested in learning more about supporting your employees in this way, here’s what you’ll want to know.
The importance of supporting employees in the workplace
Employees who feel acknowledged, appreciated and cared for by their companies are much more likely to report high job satisfaction, contribute productively and maintain healthy relationships in the office. Supporting employees, regardless of the type of support, is one way to ensure that employees feel benevolent about their place of work.
Offering support for those who struggle with substance use can have the same positive effect as offering aid for employees with mental or physical illnesses. Employers can contribute to positive outcomes when employees are referred for help and have access to evidence-based treatment and resources.
Implementing a program for addiction recovery support, through an EAP, for example, can provide benefits for both the individuals in treatment and the company as a whole. You’ll find that a recovery support program yields long-term gains, improves company culture and promotes an environment where addiction can be healed instead of perpetually hidden.
Employees who feel compelled to hide an addiction will eventually encounter dysfunction that impairs their ability to work and perform job duties appropriately. When you offer a treatment program, you may be surprised how many employees take advantage of the services, and you’ll have taken a preventative step to problems brewing down the line.
Addiction recovery support
Addiction recovery support programs that are offered through an individual’s workplace offer support, education, resources, mental health counseling and similar services to those who struggle with drug, alcohol, gambling or other addictions. Moreover, these programs frequently offer additional services to help people recover from addiction-related problems like financial stress, housing, relationship issues and more.
You’ll find that working with a program offers more benefits than trying to manage substance use-related concerns in-house. It’s likely outside the expertise of your human resources department to support addiction recovery and treatment goals for your workers, and peer recovery support services are generally much more appropriate. Peer recovery support tends to be more effective, and provided through these types of programs.
As an employer, it’s important to put policies in place that support addiction recovery programs, such as time off for inpatient treatment, flexible scheduling for those in treatment while continuing work or similar measures. You may decide to incentivize achievements in treatment or offer opportunities for employees to self-refer before drug testing.
As a company, its surely an investment to support your workers as they seek sobriety, but the accommodations you make will establish your reputation in supporting employees and create a company culture. With the guidance of an addiction recovery support program, you’ll also ensure that you’re in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects employees who seek treatment for a substance use disorder.
Engage in workplace education
As part of a recovery support program, it’s important to remember preventative measures, too. While some of your employees may need more intensive services, like inpatient care, many others will respond best to education. These measures can include explanations of drug-free workplace policies that include the following.
The list of banned substances and drug testing protocol
How drug testing results may affect employment
Information about self-referral, the referral process and treatment options offered
Legal protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act
Clear expectations regarding employee performance evaluations and employee participation in substance use programs
The extent of treatment covered by the employer and potential additional costs.
Employers who engage in regular workplace education (not simply upon hiring but on a yearly or twice-yearly basis) will find that expectations are clear and employees are frequently provided access to needed resources.
Understand the Law
When designing your drug-free policy, make sure you understand the provisions of the Drug-Free Workplace Act and how they operate within your industry. Employees at every level, including human resource professionals, need to understand whether their industry is mandated to have a drug-free workplace policy. They also need to know how provisions in the law assist employees in recovery who are trying to get help.
If you’re eager to support your employees in successful careers as well as addiction recovery, your best bet is to work alongside an EAP to provide addiction recovery support services. An EAP can streamline the process by providing assessments, treatment, follow-up care and connection to resources for those who struggle with addiction in your workplace.