3 Talks to Have with an Employee Suffering from Drug Abuse

3 Conversations Managers might have with an Employee whose work is Suffering due to a Drug Addiction

Substance abuse at work is a real phenomenon and as a manager you need to be aware of this. One of your roles in such a supervisory position is to talk to the employee who is involved in the drug abuse. There are various instances when you will have to sit down with the employee; one of them is when there are issues with job performance. Here are three conversations you need to have with the affected employee.

Communicating your Suspicions

An employee’s drug abuse activities may be discovered in various ways. These include your own observation of behavioral irregularities or a failed drug test. You need to find a quiet, private spot and preferably have another supervisor join in to have this talk. Don’t use a resistant approach; instead share any behavioral irregularities you might have noticed and the results of the drug test.

During this conversation, you need to realize that the individual will rarely share the truth freely if you ambush them with questions and accusations. Instead, stick to issues that are related to performance.

While at it, you might want to discuss the drug use policy of the company and the company’s position on drug abuse. Let the employee know that drugs and alcohol use while on the job affects job performance and isn’t permitted.

Explaining the Consequences of Drug Abuse at Work

The employee might not be aware of the implications of drug abuse to his or her job and career. Make sure you clearly emphasize the following:
• Talk about absenteeism and how it ends up affecting performance and wages.
• Discuss the likelihood of workplace accidents. Make sure you mention the effects of drugs on concentration. Let the employee know the risks of injury to himself or herself and fellow workers.
• Let the employee understand the importance of the company image, and how an instance of drug abuse affects it.
• Talk about the effect of drugs on the employee’s decision making, and how this process is vital to the company performance.
• Apart from accidents, talk about the potential for discord among workers due to the employee’s behavior.
• You can also mention the effect of this habit to the employee’s turnover. Talk about career development and the importance of the job to the employee’s family and livelihood.

Let the employee understand what he or she is losing due to drug abuse. This is the only way you will instill a desire for change.

Discussing the Steps to Healing

You need to explain to the employee the right steps to healing. As a manager, you must have gone through training on matters touching on drug abuse. One aspect that the training focuses on is steps to healing. As a manager, you cannot treat the employee; you can only allow professionals to handle the case.

As part of your training, you must have a list of the top agencies and rehabilitation centers and the services they provide. Take time to direct your employee to a resource according to the problem at hand.

You also need to discuss the company programs available to help the employee overcome the drug abuse habit. These might include insurance coverage for drug addiction treatment and other employee assistance programs.

Giving the employee time to seek help doesn’t signify the end of your role in the matter – you need to schedule a follow up appointment to gauge the employee’s progress.

During this conversation, it is your role to emphasize the responsibility of the employee to seek and complete relevant drug abuse treatment. For more information and to book an appointment for an employee, call us today.

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