HR Strategies for Addiction Recovery Plans



Your human resources program should include plans for employee addiction recovery. Why? Consider a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Nearly 33 million or 14 percent of American adults have alcohol problems, but weren’t getting help as recently as 2013. And the problem is growing — among executives, mid-level managers and workers, alike.

The aggregate impact? Alcoholism resulted in $6.5 billion in medical expenses in 2014, says another study by the Organization of Economic Cooperation.

NaypongSuch healthcare issues portend a major headache for the typical human resources department.

HR departments are responsible for compliance, compensation and benefits, employee relations, recruiting, safety, and training and development.

More and more, HR is expected to be strategic – to align HR strategies with business goals.

So how can HR support a company’s business strategy with uncertainties created by alcohol-dependent workers? With strategic planning.

With addiction having a huge adverse impact on productivity and safety, you cannot ignore health and safety risks.

Nonetheless – as far as practical – it’s a moral and legal obligation for employers to try to help employees resolve their addiction issues before issuing dismissals.

Here are four strategies to implement:

1. Learn the warning signs of addiction or mental-health issues

There are all kinds of ominous signs. They’re not limited to performance.

Certain types of alcoholics can still perform well on the job. Many don’t. But such employees have deteriorating relationships with other employees. Their behavior continues to worsen.

2. Approach the issue with great caution

Always remember an alcoholic will go to great lengths to protect a drinking habit. Denial and dishonesty are common.

It won’t do you any good just to tell an alcoholic or a drug addict, for that matter, to stop their addictive ways.

The good news about alcoholics is that often they’re easier to reach than drug addicts. They become remorseful sooner. Drug addicts tend to be more dishonest.

So know how to approach your employees. Ask the right questions. All the while provide a supportive environment. It’s best not to judge but merely seek solutions.

3. Remove the stigmas

Alcohol and drug-dependent employees are frightened at the prospect of being found out. They scared to admit they have a problem. They fear losing their job.

Be sensitive to the problem and the employee’s feelings. At company parties and functions, make it OK not to drink. Create a positive culture and environment.

4. Treat addiction like any other health issue

Even if workers stop their denials and admit to their drinking problems, they face a long, hard road.

Most will fall off the wagon repeatedly. For a long duration – in early stages of recovery – it will seem that no amount of treatment or attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous will work.

Provide adequate support to help these people get well. If your workers feel a supportive workplace, they’ll admit their problems more readily and will work hard to improve themselves.

Resources – Alcoholism

For alcoholics, the best source for recovery is Alcoholics Anonymous. For family and friends of alcoholics, Al-Anon is suggested. For children of alcoholics, Alateen is recommended.

Resources – Drug addiction

For drug addicts, visit Narcotics Anonymous. For family and friends of drug addicts, see Nar-Anon.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are informative articles to cope with stress:

Communication – You Can Train Yourself to Stop Stressing — It’s OK to be nervous before giving a speech or when you’re entering an important round of negotiations. Feeling pressure is one thing but allowing it to morph into stress and tension is another. When you allow this to happen, in a sense, you’re giving away your personal power, which inhibits your performance.

Proof Positive: How Supportive Spouses Help in Work-Related Stress — First, it was the book, “The Millionaire Mind.” The book by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley revealed several traits of millionaires. One important statistic from his study of millionaires: They were successful largely thanks to a supportive spouse.

24 Tips to Reduce Stress, Work Happier for Top Performance — You have a 35 percent better chance of living longer if you feel happy. That’s the upshot from a 2011 British study that links feelings of happiness to longevity. So the emphasis is on feelings. Makes sense, right? The study acknowledges some people inherently feel happy.

5 Traits of People Who Deliver Bad News Well — Are you nervous about giving bad news to others? Do you wish you were good at it? If you answer yes to either question, here are five traits of good messengers.

Checklist to Build Self Confidence for Career Success — Everybody occasionally struggles with self confidence. But some people have continuing low self esteem. Their lack of confidence serves as a big obstacle.

The 3 A’s to Survive an Emotional Business Loss — Business executive: If you’re distraught over business conditions, my condolences as you’re not alone. Lots of businesses have financial issues. The good news is you can survive an emotional business loss with the three A’s.

“Alcohol gives you infinite patience for stupidity.”

-Sammy Davis, Jr.


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of Naypong at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.