Helping an employee with alcohol problems
It can be very difficult to know how best to approach and manage an employee who you believe may have a problem with alcohol. ‘Seeing how things go’ may be tempting, but time really is of the essence when it comes to alcoholism. Before speaking to your employee and considering options such as alcohol rehab and recovery centres, it really helps to be aware of the signs of alcoholism.
Spot the signs and symptoms of alcoholism
If an employee has an alcohol problem, they are probably doing everything they can to conceal it. This is a very common behaviour amongst alcoholics and addicts. The individual is often in denial of the problem and doesn’t realise and understand the seriousness of their situation. Some people with drink problems are very successful at hiding it from others at work. This kind of functioning alcoholic may be able to keep their addiction hidden for years.
But there are signs to look out for. Being absent from work because of sickness is common, as is reduced performance. Your employee might often be late to work or meetings and may disappear for long lunches. You might notice alcohol on their breath or attempts to cover this up with mints.
Alcoholism is a substantial (but often underestimated) problem in corporate life. Millions of work days are lost every year in the UK to alcohol and substance abuse. As an employer, you want to protect the health and wellbeing of your employees. At the same time, it makes perfect business sense to support an employee with alcoholism through their problem to a healthier way of living. It’s far preferable to the expense and upset of letting your employee go with all the consequent costs of recruiting and training a replacement.
Supporting employees into alcohol rehab
Going into an alcohol rehab or recovery centre is often the most appropriate step for someone living with alcoholism. Helping an employee through the alcohol rehab process holds benefits beyond the individual. It promotes a better work climate, a healthier work force, a responsible reputation among stakeholders and considerable economic savings.
Supporting your employee into taking the first step to recovery can be challenging. They may deny their problem and not take the idea of going into an alcohol rehab or recovery centre seriously. The most important thing is to approach your employee without judgement in a calm manner. Make it clear that you understand that alcoholism is a disease – it’s not a sign of weakness. And that with the right treatment and support, many people overcome their addiction and go on to lead healthy, productive lives.
Keep it simple and straightforward
A caring, compassionate approach is extremely important. But the facts really do matter (and will help put your message across in a strong but calm way). Stick to them as much you can – so point out that you could smell alcohol on their breath or that they’ve been late frequently, rather than making statements that are difficult to qualify such as ‘you’re drinking too much’. If you’ve noticed any effects of your employee’s drinking on other employees or the workplace in general, it’s a good idea to raise them.
Support for you as an employer
Although you have a responsibility for your employee, it’s important to understand that they will need to face up to their alcoholism. At Step One Recovery, we provide cutting-edge, evidence-based alcohol rehab programmes at our exclusive recovery centre in Spain.
Our expert team of doctors, counsellors and therapists work with people living with alcoholism to accept their problem and build new healthier coping strategies. We offer different lengths of stay at our alcohol rehab centre in Spain to fit professional and personal needs. If you’re concerned for your employee’s safety and feel that they are in complete denial of their problem, we can also organise an intervention with family to help them agree to going into our alcohol rehab centre.
Although our alcohol rehab clinic is based in Spain, you can rest assured that support will be ongoing on your employee’s return to the UK. After going through residential alcohol rehab, they will be entitled to 12 months of aftercare. This involves group therapy on a weekly basis and ongoing telephone support.