Last updated: November 23, 2020
Substance abuse takes many forms and alcohol and illegal drug use are increasingly being joined by prescription drug use as the most common in the workplace.
Employers are acutely aware of the affects which include decreased productivity, reduced profit and poor employee morale which extends beyond the abuser and can lead to even more disruptive behavior. A common sense approach can make it easy to keep those negative factors from invading the workplace.
But by being proactive and paying attention, it’s relatively easy to keep most, if not all drugs and alcohol out of the workplace.
Be Selective in Hiring
One of the first steps to keeping drugs and alcohol out is one of the first steps in an employee’s hiring process. Face-to-face interviews and meetings with potential co-workers are expert recommendations, of course, and pre-employment drug testing is commonplace. HR can go much deeper. Have applicant credentials been verified? How many references were checked? What about conducting a background check? Sometimes the most obvious steps are the easiest to skip, but keeping alcohol and drug abusers from getting the job keeps them from bringing it to the job in the first place.
Get to Know Your Employees
Even the best screening won’t help for current employees. Knowing more than your employee’s names and job titles can do wonders for morale, not just reveal hidden habits. The best part of building rapport is that it can be done at work through work, if each person is truly paying attention and making an effort to learn more about each other.
Create a Positive Work Environment
If an employee hates showing up because of “workplace” drama, there is a good chance that person will bring outside distractions with them to help cope. Creating a comfortable work environment doesn’t mean comfy chairs and a cappucino maker in this case. The kind of message employees read can often come between the lines of corporate memos. Did management follow through and follow their own rules? Is backstabbing the only way to get ahead? How is fraud dealt with and are employee’s rewarded or punished for bringing it to the forefront. You’ll get the most out of employees who feel valued and love their jobs, but more importantly, there will be less cause for bringing an “escape” from home.
Know the Signs
Offer Educational Resources
Providing employees options to get substance abuse help doesn’t have to come in a face-to-face meeting and doesn’t have to be done at the company picnic. Anonymously available material is just that – anonymous and available – so that employees don’t feel embarrassment or shame for seeking help. Reaching out to a local treatment or counseling center is a great first step to recovery. Gathering educational resources can be your contribution and often the centers make those materials and lists of phone numbers readily available.
Conduct Random Drug Testing
One of the surest ways to prevent drug and alcohol use in the workplace can be one of the easiest to implement and inexpensive, too. Federal and local laws outline proper procedures for random drug testing. USAMDT can come to your location and perform all tests on-site. Adding to the cost effectiveness of such a service are workers comp incentives that offer up to 15% discounts with a drug testing program in place.