In a culture riddled with drug use and excessive drinking, it has never been more challenging (or more important) to obtain and maintain a healthy workforce. Building a solid team, executing the strategic plan, meeting targets ahead of schedule, and feeling the overall success of cohesive effort is what the job is all about, right? RIGHT!

But we all know that the plan is often not quite reality. We can forecast, implement workforce wellness plans, and incentivize healthy choices, but this only gets us so far.

One in Ten American Workers Have an Addiction Disorder

In a four year study conducted between 2008 and 2012, more than 111,500 American adults with full time jobs were asked about their alcohol and illicit-drug use. The study revealed that nearly 10% of them had had an alcohol or illicit-drug disorder in the previous year.

Another study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that in the past month over half of American adults ages 18 – 25 consumed alcohol, 23% smoked cigarettes, and 23.20% have used illicit substances. It’s no coincidence that this age group (18 to 25-year-olds) also has the highest turn over rate in the American work force.

These Workers Need Treatment, Not Termination

It’s common knowledge in the addiction recovery field that only 1 in 10 Americans with a substance use disorder receive the treatment they need. This means that there are literally hundred of thousands of employees around our country with real substance use disorders that are going untreated.

Many business execs have found themselves in roundtable meetings discussing what to do about the substance use epidemic plaguing our workforce. We believe that the answer is simple: you can choose treatment over termination and protect your business while saving lives in the process.

Your Staff Is Your Greatest Asset—Even When They Falter

You work hard during the application and interviewing process to differentiate between those who can cut it and those who should cut it somewhere else. You have good reasons for each person you selected to be a part of your team. They had the skillset you were looking for, the knowledge base to get the job done, or at least had an eagerness to learn.  

You believe in your team. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have hired them.

And then, someone on your team becomes addicted to something. You started to see their performance decline. Maybe they start showing up to work late, or worse, drunk. You begin to wonder if you made the right choice, and start to think it might be time to fire and hire. I’m writing to encourage you to consider treatment before termination.

Addiction Is a Disease, So We Should Treat It Like One

Substance use is a disease much like any other illnesses. It can come, seemingly out of nowhere, and it can take people on your workforce away from the job for periods of time. But when this happens it’s important to remember that the person you hired, is still the same person. Their skillset is unchanged, their knowledge base remains, and their eagerness to learn can be reignited.  

As an employer you invest in the resources that make you successful, and many times this means investing in your people.  Sometimes players get hurt, sometimes they get benched for a while, but with the right therapy, services, and supports, your players can get back on the field.

The Cost of Turnover Is Greater Than the Cost of Treatment

According to the Society for Human Resources Management, the cost of replacing an employee equates to 6 to 9 months of salary expense. Choosing formal treatment (versus termination and re-hiring) is often a more affordable next step for an employee ready to make the necessary changes in their life.  

And with the changes enforced on insurance companies by the Affordable Care Act, treatment is more affordable now than ever before. Depending on the level of care needed, treatment costs are often reduced to insurance co-pays and your out of pocket max.

Many organizations also offer more flexible programs for people who need to stay close to home, or who need to continue working during treatment.

Investing in Your Employees May Be Your Greatest Retention Strategy

If you Google “Top reasons people leave their job” you won’t find Salary in the top of many lists. Employees want to feel challenged by their work, they want to feel invested in by the company, they want to be recognized for good work they do, and they want to feel like part of the team.

What would happen to the culture of your organization if employees felt supported in receiving treatment for their addiction just as they do for other illnesses? Given that we know, in the past 30 days almost 25% of the adult population has used an illicit substance, and over 50% has consumed alcohol. These statistics alone should be enough to motivate you to make treatment a priority in your organization.

Choosing treatment over termination fosters hope and security that your organization cares about its employees and their mental health. There is no greater retention strategy than this.

Meet With Us

We’d love to meet with you in person to talk about how we can partner with you and your organization to help you maintain a healthy productive workforce—free from addiction.