How to help an employee with an addiction

As an employer you have a certain duty of care to your employees, this includes spotting potential issues and looking for resolutions.

An issue that employers often struggle to deal with is when they have a staff member who is evidently suffering from addiction and needs help.

Due to addiction being classed as a disease by many health professionals its important that the problem is met with understanding and wiliness to provide them with drug and alcohol rehab treatment as many of these programmes can be expensive, by helping them get better you will be investing in the long term future of your employee and signifying their importance to your team which can create an immense amount of loyalty which can’t simply be bought.

We have researched the topic of addiction in the workplace and managed to come up with 10 stages that can assist you on best dealing with an employee suffering from an addiction:

  1. Don’t dwell on the issue. Seeking help for your employee as soon as possible can be incredibly important as the longer the issue is disregarded you risk reaching a point of no return.
  2. Don’t assume that the issue is not your concern. As an employer you have a duty of care to your employees by seeing the problem as solely theirs you are disregarding your employees health and wellbeing which can reflect badly on your organisation.
  3. Organising an early intervention is key to achieving full recovery. As outline above the quicker treatment is received in the form of rehab, the better the results will be on the employees long term health and wellbeing.
  4. Clarify that you understand, do not judge why they’re suffering from addiction simply come at the problem with compassion and understanding with the commitment to helping them get better.
  5. Convince them to receive treatment by showing you truly care. Showing compassion and understanding to their problem will increase their willingness to receive help.
  6. Be gentle when raising your concerns of negative conduct brought on by their addiction. For instance, rather than saying, “I think you are drinking excessively,” you could state, “I noticed you were slurring your words in the customer meeting on Thursday, is everything okay?”.
  7. Educate them on the problems it’s causing to the team. Make them aware of the negative impacts their addiction issue is having on the team to help further convince them into receiving help.
  8. You may need to persuade them to receive support. If the above steps still doesn’t convince them to make the decision to receive treatment then you may need to outline that the problem could jeopardise their position in the organisation. Clarify that you wish to help them get better through this period and that you need them to show that they are willing to get better so they can be brought back into the team.
  9. Give them expert advice. Set up a meeting with addiction treatment specialists who can give information on what they’re suffering an detail the solutions that are available to them.
  10. Make them feel understood. Overlooking their problem will only make the situation worse as an employer it’s important that you show understanding to their problem so they can get through it.