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Helping an employee with alcohol or drug problems

We understand better than anyone else the consequences substance abuse can have on an individual. That’s why we provide and supply free advice for anyone considering their options and treatments.

What’s the best way to deal with an employee who has a drinking problem?

The Executive Rehab Guide have been providing essential support and guidance for people suffering from severe depression and anxiety, who have turned to substance abuse to deal with their problems.

We understand better than anyone else the consequences substance abuse can have on an individual.

That’s why we provide and supply free advice for anyone considering their options and treatments.

Call 0808 274 6351 to get help today.

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Confronting an employee drinking problem

Sometimes, as an employer, it can be hard to evaluate where the boundaries are regarding how much of your employees’ personal lives you should interfere with.

However, if you do notice one of your employees exhibiting what appears to be a potentially harmful relationship with alcohol or drugs, it is important to address the problem sooner rather than later.

These conversations can be difficult, especially for someone who does not have experience dealing with issues regarding addiction and mental health.

Some signs someone may have an alcohol issue:

  • A decline in their “normal” standards of performance.
  • Late for work on multiple occasions.
  • Unreliable, often forgetting tasks/missing deadlines.
  • Bloodshot eyes, dishevelled appearance or generally looks drained.
  • Noticeable shaking/tremors.
  • Drinking alone, or coming to social events smelling of alcohol or already partially drunk.
  • Often drunk or drinks more than other employees at events and gatherings.

 See: When to intervene

Tips to have a productive conversation:

  1. Choose the appropriate time and place: since these conversations can be sensitive, it is important you respect the boundaries of your employee and choose an appropriate time and setting to raise these issues in private.
  2. Avoid accusatory language: when discussing your concerns, ensure that your employee knows you are coming from a place of care for their wellbeing, rather than simply critiquing their performance as an employee.
  3. Consult your policy: your company should have a written policy in place in order to deal with these kinds of instances if, for example, the individual has been using drugs or alcohol at work. If your goal is to help your employee, reassure them that you are having this conversation because you want to help them get better and save their career, rather than simply calling them out as a disciplinary measure.
  4. Know your employees’ rights: Employment protection law requires employers to treat dependence as a form of sickness, rather than an immediate cause for dismissal, giving the employee the opportunity to overcome the problem. Companies are not legally required to implement alcohol and drug policies, nor to pay for treatment for employees with alcohol and drug problems.
  5. Active listening: you should be able to read your employee’s reactions to the conversation to decipher how willing they are to consciously accept their addiction. If an employee acknowledges they have a problem then you can suggest resources available for them to get help. If the employee chooses to deny the problem exists but it is severely impacting their work then you may need to outline the consequences of their drinking continues to impact their performance.
  6. Be prepared and be patient: expect that your employee may be in denial, they could become defensive, even slightly angry at the situation.
  7. Present the facts: since you probably do not have very much knowledge of your employees’ problems or personal life, try not to make assumptions or apply labels such as ‘alcoholic’ to them, no matter how convinced you are regarding the severity of their problem. Instead, you may want to refer to specific incidents that have led to your concerns, for example, has that individual been late for work on multiple occasions recently, repeatedly missed deadlines, have smelt alcohol on their breath etc.
  8. If your employee desires so, provide concrete steps they can take: Give them details of the company doctor, health practitioner, company therapist, external private therapist or a nearby GP; gather contact details of different professional organisations or rehab clinics that offer treatment. If your company provides health insurance and this policy covers private rehabilitation centres then ensure they are aware of this. Reassure them that they can have the time off required to attend rehab and focus on recovery.
  9. Try not to pathologise the issue: addiction is a lot more common than we often think. If your employee is already dealing with these personal problems it is likely they are in an extremely dark place, so you should be conscious not to make them feel worse.
  10. Don’t internalise the responsibility: although you obviously want to help your employee, it is not your responsibility to ensure they get the help they need. You can offer a hand, and point them towards professional help but your responsibility ends here.

Where can my employee get help?

Castle Craig has a history of treating clients who are successful employees, business owners and CEOs.

The established rehabilitation centre based in Scotland is equipped with a team of professionals who are experienced in treating addiction in the most efficient way possible in order to get those affected back on track with their lives.

There is a strong evidence base to support the treatment methods used at Castle Craig.

Castle Craig has not only academic and theoretical backing for its treatment programme; it also has mounting evidence on its own outcomes, with outcomes from a Cohort of Patients at Castle Craig Hospital, 2015 revealing that:

73.4% of those who attended treatment at Castle Craig were totally abstinent from all drugs or alcohol at follow-up (after about 1 year).

Want to find out more? Contact Castle Craig on the numbers below, available 24/7

Freephone (the UK only): 0808 274 6351

International: +44 1721 726 135

Email Us.

Last Updated on March 3, 2022 by