A glass of beer after work or champagne for a colleague’s birthday: Alcohol in the workplace has long been socially acceptable. But what if alcohol becomes a problem for your business? In the world of work, the number of alcoholics should not be underestimated. For you as a HR manager, it is important to familiarize yourself with the possible courses of action if an employee shows addictive behavior.
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Consequences of alcohol at work
These numbers pose a major threat to companies. Productivity and smooth operations are in your interest as a HR manager, as is the health of your employees. According to the statistics, the consequences of alcoholism are enormous:
- The number of accidents is 3.5 times as high
- Absences increase 16-fold
- There is a loss of work performance of about 25 percent
- The affected employees are three times more likely to be on sick leave
But how do you recognize the signs of alcohol addiction?
As a HR manager, you are primarily dependent on colleagues and managers, because they are the ones who notice the first signs of excessive alcohol consumption. Overall, the characteristics can be divided into four areas: Changed work behavior, physical abnormalities, change in personality, abnormal drinking habits.
Is the employee frequently absent at short notice, is he only ill for a short time, or is he absent without proof?
Does the person find implausible excuses for absenteeism?
Is her work performance declining and unreliable?
Are there mistakes or are agreements not being kept?
Has the person’s behavior changed?
Are there conflicts within the team?
Does the person have mood swings?
Does the employee often have a flag, slur or have balance problems?
Is he withdrawing more and more?
Has the person already had to hand in their driver’s license in private?
Does the person clearly avoid drinking around others?
Alcohol at work: what you can do
Offer addiction prevention and education
According to the DHS study, addiction prevention is a very useful measure. Employees and managers learn all about the dangers of alcohol and become more sensitive to alcohol abuse. The introduction helped 70 percent of the companies in a positive way, a fifth of the companies see the costs for the introduction covered by the success. Absences have been reduced and the working atmosphere has improved. In addition, addiction problems could actually be reduced.
Make confidentiality a priority
Employees and managers should be made aware of the topic. If there is a suspicion, you should address the person concerned directly and ask for a confidential conversation at an early stage. Treat the employee with respect and at eye level and be discreet.
Be a role model
As a manager and HR manager, you should consciously avoid alcohol at work. As a manager, you have a great deal of influence on how birthdays or farewells are celebrated in your company. Use this role model function.
Confront the employee
Managers and HR managers should confront employees with their failures. Be specific about problems and make it clear what changes in behavior you expect. In addition, you should show the consequences that will result from new violations.
Offer to help
You are neither a therapist nor a doctor. Therefore, you should not make a hasty diagnosis. Rather, it is helpful to establish contact with a professional institution. Offer your help and specifically refer to addiction counseling centers.
Enable the successful re-entry
After therapy, it is your job to reintegrate the employee successfully. Treat alcoholism like any other chronic disease. Maybe the person can only work part-time at first? Talk to the employee and, if necessary, get information about the recommendations of their doctors.