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Five reasons to keep an employee suffering from addiction on your books

When you’re a business owner you typically have to learn fast. You’ll encounter new problems every day and have to adapt and make the best decision for all involved. It can be a difficult balance, but essential that you do get it right.

Presently, one problem that many business owners are facing is the rise of addiction problems within their workforce. Across the country there are more people struggling with the likes of opioid abuse, alcohol addiction and many other drug problems than ever before, and for many, that can be entering uncharted territory.

On the one hand, it will no doubt be having a detrimental effect on the productivity of your business, but on the other you also have a duty of care. For some business owners, drug problems can be a cause for instant dismissal. And they’d be well within their rights.

However, others prefer to take a different approach, helping provide private drug treatment to get their life back on track and return to work. Which again, a business owner is well within their rights, and perhaps is the best option. But why exactly? 

It promotes a culture of compassion

Firstly, by taking a more compassionate stance towards employees who are struggling with addiction really sets a tone for the workplace and shows that you have developed, or are developing a culture that prioritises the wellbeing and understanding of staff.

By demonstrating empathy and offering support, you’ll create an environment where employees feel valued, respected, and encouraged to seek help without fear of judgement or losing their job.

It shows you’re investing in employee wellbeing

Keeping an employee suffering from addiction on your books allows the organization to actively invest in the wellbeing of its workforce. Addiction is a complex and challenging issue that often requires professional treatment and support. By providing access to employee assistance programs, counselling services, and resources for addiction recovery, you’re contributing to the overall health and happiness of not just those struggling but the wider team too as, in truth, they’ll all want to see their colleagues on the road to recovery too and can feel inspired by that.

You’ll retain staff and keep expert knowledge with you

By firing staff who are struggling with addiction, you’re only going to lose people with skills you need that may be difficult to find elsewhere. Over the years they’ll have got to know your business inside out. You should consider the long-term benefits of retaining these employees. With the appropriate support and treatment plans in place, individuals in recovery can continue to contribute their expertise, which can have a significant impact on continuity and quality of work within your business, keeping disruption associated with staff turnover to a minimum.

You’ll be more compliant with employment laws and regulations

By taking a sensitive approach to addiction and offering support will align with the legal and ethical obligations that relate to employee rights. It can be a difficult and complex sea to navigate so by showing support you put yourself and the business at much less risk in supporting than you would dismissing someone without offering support.

You’ll be able to provide someone that you like the support they need

Finally, you’ve hired that person for a reason and will no doubt have a good working relationship with them. We spend more time with our colleagues than we do our family in most cases, so providing someone with access to the help they need can be a rewarding experience on a personal level.

By showing that support it can provide them with the encouragement and confidence to take on the challenge of addiction and it will often be rewarded with loyalty and hard work when they do come out the other side of it, proving to be a benefit both to themselves and the business in the long run.

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