How Business Owners Can Help Employees With Addiction Problems


With an increasing number of people struggling with substance abuse and addiction today, the chances of the problem finding its way to the workplace are high. And it isn’t just the employee that grapples with the issue, the company and consequently the economy suffers too. That is because employees with addiction problems are typically less productive, more likely to view their jobs negatively, use more sick days, make more mistakes, file employee compensations claims and have problems with supervisors. Here's how business owners can help employees with addiction problems:

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As a business owner, you’re constantly faced with two objectives: increasing your business’ bottom line and caring for your employees. These two objectives are often interwoven and sometimes conflict with one another. With a worker’s addiction problem likely to affect the workplace and vice versa, you should confront the issue and find ways to help the employee deal with the problem.

1. Have a private chat with the affected employee

It would be unwise to choose to ignore any signs of addiction problem in your workplace. If you observe some common signs of substance abuse problems in any of your workers, you should take action. Initiate a private conversation with the affected worker in which you outline the company’s policy, express your concerns, make any helpful recommendations and offer any other forms of support you can while as much as possible still maintaining a professional relationship.

2. Introduce helpful programs

While this may mean extra costs for your business, there’ll certainly be a healthy return on investment in the end with internal company programs like drug tests and educational workshops. These kinds of programs will no doubt impact positively on staff morale and productivity; while also reducing work accidents, employee thefts, costs of insurance and employee compensation claims, among other benefits.

Recommended reading: Tips for Managing and Communicating Employee Benefits

3. Discourage use

Employers and co-workers must make sure they are not enabling abuse of drugs and alcohol by employees or in the workplace. Don’t cover up for an employee’s mistake. Don’t make excuses for them, delegate the task to another worker or even lend them money to buy drugs. As trifling as these efforts may sound, they could compound the issues for both the employee and the business.

4. Explore your insurance coverage

If your business offers a workers’ health insurance scheme, Mark from Addiction Helper says it’s best to find out from the insurance company what treatment the policy covers and if they can recommend any helpful resources for people with substance abuse problems. It’s important to be absolutely clear on what the insurance program covers and what it doesn’t cover, so any affected worker can take the right action for his or her financial circumstances.

In conclusion, remember that if your employee is battling an addiction problem, it is not just their well being that’s hurting; your business bottom line is too. Given the fact that drug and alcohol abuse is rampant in the workplace today, you should be more proactive in addressing the problem so you can limit the chances that the employee and your business will suffer as a consequence.  

Over to you now. Have you had to deal with employees with addiction problems? Tell us in the comments below. 


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Wednesday, 17 July 2019
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