Many things go into a making an organization successful. It is not just about hiring skilled workers, maintaining an environment that is safe, productive, and bias-free are important factors to consider.
Employers today are starting to care less about their candidate’s skills and more about the candidates’ personality. The latter is believed to be a factor that directly affects the culture of a company and their likelihood of success. It becomes a problem when some employees exhibit unprofessional behavior, or worse, indulge in activities that are in direct violation of the code of conduct of a company. One example of this is when employees secretly indulge in substance abuse in the workplace.
Substance abuse is a serious problem that affects over 20 million adults in the United States.
What is Substance Abuse?
Substance abuse refers to the use of alcohol and drugs. The term “abuse” defines an individual’s excess use of the substance to the point where it becomes harmful because the individual is exceeding the recommended dosage to a dangerous extent.
These substances are psychoactive. Individuals can develop a dependence syndrome. After a person develops a strong desire to take the drug, it becomes near impossible to resist the temptation. The result is that an individual would consider taking the drug instead of fulfilling his/her responsibilities. Substance abuse can also lead to health issues and social issues. It is when the disasters of an individual’s tendency to take such substances become apparent.
Here are some of the ways employers can control substance abuse in the workplace:
- Observe the Workplace. Almost every organization, big or small, has at least one HR person. The duty of HR goes beyond just managing the finances and making sure everyone is paid on time. It is a body that acts as an invigilator. The HR is there to serve the employees who approach and raise whatever concerns they have. And then take corrective action. It is to create an environment that is safe for everyone. And thus, the should be trained to recognize employee behavior that is harmful and destructive. Is the employee regularly missing work during office hours? Has the employee’s job performance taken a hit? Does the employee look intoxicated? What is the word on the grapevine about the employee’s behavior? These are some of the indicators the HR can use to control substance abuse in the workplace.
- Research If You’re Unsure. Unsure whether an employee indulges in substance abuse? Do some research. The internet is a vast resource that provides information on that front. Some useful references include:
- Develop Drug and Alcohol Policies. Large, established organizations have the resources to develop programs that train and educate employees on the disasters of substance abuse. Some organizations take it a step further by educating on the health problems of smoking. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, believes that small businesses lack the resources to devote time and effort to establishing substance abuse policies. Hence, they are far more likely to witness workplace accidents.
- Talk to the employee. The H in HR stands for Human. And because of that, the HR should carry a balanced approach. When it does become apparent that an employee is indulging in substance abuse, consider sitting down for a chat. It’s going to be an uncomfortable talk, but should be helpful. It gives a chance to learn about the employee’s situation. It is perhaps because the employee is going through a tough phase in life. You could lend a helping hand by offering to introduce to rehabilitation services. Controlling substance abuse in the workplace shouldn’t mean firing every employee found guilty.
- Don’t Hesitate to Act. The repercussions of an employee’s substance abuse vary from job to job. If the employee is someone tasked to deliver goods via truck, then it becomes highly risky. The employee could be using substances while alone, endangering himself and the people around him to accidents. When the time comes to do the right thing, you must not hesitate. It should also set an example for others in the workplace.
As an employer, pay attention to issues raised by the HR. Substance abuse isn’t the only breach of the code of conduct; sexual harassment is another prevailing offense that needs equal attention.