With the amount of people who have one form of addiction or another, the odds are that you will have to deal with an employee with an addiction at some point in your business career. While this can have a negative impact on your business and operations, it could also be a chance for you to build up your company culture and seek to assist your employees to live healthier and more fulfilling lives by giving help and support to both the individual and their loved ones.

However, because addictions are often strongly tied to emotions and hard to break, it can be hard to know what you as an employer or manager can do to make a difference. To help with this task, here are three ways you can assist an employee with an addiction.

Spotting The Subtle Signs

No one wants to be fired from their job, even someone suffering from a harmful addiction. Knowing this, it may be difficult to distinguish between normal work behavior and behavior that suggests that addictive tendencies are taking place. According to Gwen Moran, a contributor to Entrepreneur.com, some of the subtle signs to be on the lookout for are bloodshot eyes, a large amount of absences, tardiness or leaving early, and abnormal levels of activity that don’t result in additional work getting done. If you notice one or more of these signs, you may need to prepare yourself to deal with an employee facing an addiction.

Establish An Employee Assistance Program

Offering your support to employees with issues of addiction can be a huge help to them professionally and personally. The National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence shares that one of the most effective things an employer can do is establish an Employee Assistance Program. These programs can help you and your employee deal with all sorts of issues related to addiction, from treatment and counseling to mental health and financial advice. Consider instituting an Employee Assistance Program if you are interested in truly helping your employees during this tough time.

Show Compassion, Not Consequences

Broaching the subject of addiction can be complicated, especially when it takes place in a work environment. However, there are things you can do to make sure this exchange goes off as seamlessly as possible. Dan Wisniewski, a contributor to HRMorning.com, recommends for employers to take on the role as a concerned colleague rather than an enforcer of blame and punishment. In this arena, you may have a greater chance at success than if you come at the problem with consequences only.

Addiction is a real problem that many employers have to deal with on a very regular basis. To help you be prepared for this scenario, use the tips mentioned above to be ready to offer a helping hand to your employees when they need it most.

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