This article is part two of Curbing Employee Drug Use for a Better Workplace.
Educate, Education, and More Education
It isn’t enough to educate your managers and to display your company drug policy. If you truly want to help curb substance abuse in your workplace, you should go out of your way to institute an educational program that all employees are exposed to. In addition to education on drug use and how it can negatively affect the body and the life, your company should strive to create an environment where health and well being are important.
Consider educational programs on the importance of good nutrition and exercise. This may mean that you have to re-evaluate how your company handles work-life balance. You may need to install a gym that employees can use for free, or find a way to allow employees to telecommute part-time or other ways to allow them to seek out healthier lifestyles.
Not only can this positively impact the lives of those who did struggle with substance abuse, but you are also far more likely to attract employees who aren’t going to be using drugs in the first place. When your company environment focuses on health and well being, you attract employees who are likewise invested in their own health and well being.
Invest in Your Healthcare
Healthcare can be expensive. That’s a fact that we simply cannot get around in this country. Healthcare for employees can be prohibitively expensive, especially when you include coverage for “extras” like rehabilitation programs, therapy, and aftercare for substance abuse issues. However, consider this: many substance abusers don’t seek out help simply because they cannot afford to.
Your company could be losing thousands of dollars in productivity, customer service, and workplace accidents, simply because a substance abuser can’t afford to seek out the help they need to become a valuable member of your team. By choosing to invest in health care that covers all of these treatments and aftercare programs, you can not only ensure that your workplace is happier and more productive overall; you can also be a part of saving a life.
Additionally, you may also find that you can speak with your healthcare provider about limiting coverage for opioid painkillers. There may be a policy that you can select that only covers a short dosage of these addictive prescriptions, which can help lower the chance that your employees will begin abusing them if they are injured.
Consequences of Drug Use and Abuse
In addition to laying out your policy, getting your employees on your team, providing a great education and a health-focused environment, and investing in your employee health care, you also need to consider the consequences of violating company substance abuse policy. There has to be a consequence to motivate drug abusers to seek help, or else there is no reason to consider any of these tips.
Many employers have a “no mistakes” policy that dictates that an employee must be fired if they test positive on a random drug test, or if they cause a workplace accident while under the influence of a substance. These types of policies are generally found in industries where lives are at stake, such as construction, healthcare, mining, or similar industries. Your priority does have to be first and foremost on the safety of those who are directly affected by this employee’s actions.
However, if you can implement a policy that first offers a drug abuser the help they need to overcome their addiction, you may find that you retain more employees, and attract more loyal employees, in the long run. Consequences for testing positive may include mandatory substance abuse classes or mandatory rehabilitation treatment. Consequences for causing an accident may include a dock in pay, forced time off or suspension.
Whatever consequences you choose, be sure that they strike an equal balance between the safety of others, and the health of your employee. Additionally, all actions taken should be kept confidential between the employee and their supervisors. None of their fellow employees should be made aware that this employee has a substance abuse issue; if the danger of their actions has to be accounted for in order to make other employees act more safely around them, then that’s a sign that that employee shouldn’t be on the floor at all.
A Comprehensive Plan
Any one of these tips will help you begin the process of curbing drug use in the workplace to create a happier, more productive, and safer environment. However, you will likely find that success is better achieved when you create a comprehensive plan that includes many of these suggestions. By focusing on a healthy environment for all of your employees, you can help reduce the chances that you’ll attract substance abusers in the first place, and give those employees you already have a great shot at creating healthy and happy lives for themselves. You’ll see better profits thanks to more efficient workers, and you’ll see a decrease in costs in accidents and late orders.
Truly, curbing substance abuse in your workplace is a win-win for everyone involved.