Monday, December 30, 2013

When Your Alcoholic Employee Enters Treatment

If your employee has recently entered treatment, you're only in the beginning steps of getting this employee back to work sober and performing the way he or she is supposed to. Let's discuss the easy, simple, and straight forward way you can properly manage an employee who has entered addiction treatment for an alcoholism problem.

First, realize that treatment is two things: detox and education. That's about it. It's complex, but that is what happens in a nutshell. The patient gets the booze out of their body safely and with little or no withdrawal symptoms, and then learns about the disease and how to treat it with the goal in treatment of self-diagnosis--believing they have the disease and must do what's necessary to properly treat it.

You can review a number of selected tip sheets and checklists for supervisors that offer solid ideas for how to manage an employee by visiting - search alcohol, supervisor, or alcoholism.

(For the EAP or Hired Counselor working with management on contract)
Touch points for communicating with the patient, treatment professionals, and company supervisor:
  1. Generally these touch points require updates and motivational assessments from the addiction treatment counselor: Get status reports after admission, after detox, middle of intermediate care, discharge, starting day of aftercare, completion of aftercare, and any point within the next year where the follow-up program (there should be one, or you should ensure one exists) discovers that the patient has moved below the four-day-per week participation in Alcoholics Anonymous.
  2. You should be notified 24/7 (a release of course is requested and signed by the patient) with regard to the patient's  ruminations related to leaving AMA (Against Medical Advice)-- both AMA Ideation and actual AMA. When a patient begins talking about leaving against medical advice, a series of intervention steps occurs. Unfortunately most addition treatment program do not understand dynamics of motivation and leverage and therefore each employee from nurse, counselor, volunteer, doctor, or even the janitor  may take a crack at re-motivating the patient to stay. Unfortunately, each of these attempts reinforces the decision to leave. The first person to make an attempt at re-motivating the EAP client (or employee from the company) should be you-the EAP or other consultant working for the company as a liaison. You can communicate leverage from the employer--generally assurance that the employee will be fired if he or she leaves treatment (we are assuming a formal referral to the EAP with a last chance agreement was involved in this sort of admission). If you are called last instead of first, the patient will have already practiced their "pitch" to leave and your job of convincing them to stay will be made more difficult. Use this EAP Handout Tip Sheet for following clients post discharge from your EAP office.
Supervisors and company management must communicate their intention to support the patient, but also motivate employees to accept treatment if they need it by using job security as an appropriate leverage, otherwise employees coming out of treatment will not follow through with what they are supposed to be doing. The follow up guidelines above and the follow up tool will capture early disintegration of motivation prior to relapse in 90% of discharged patients treated for addictive disease.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Don't Be Manipulated By Substance Abusing Employees

Supervisor training usually falls short on giving managers and supervisors the right information about addiction minus the myths and misconceptions, which are enormous. For example, never assume an alcohol or drug problem is properly treated simply because the employee reports having quit. There is a difference between self-imposed abstinence and understanding how to manage addictive disease properly using an applied daily program of recovery recommended by addiction specialists. Supervisors can easily be swayed by employees with substance abuse problems for one very good reason. They know more about there drinking or drug problem than you do. And they also, in almost all cases, know what they should be doing to treat it. As a supervisor, don't wander off the supervisor role beaten path. You end up in the briars and burrs. If you stick to attendance, quality of work, availability, attitude, conduct, and communication, then you've got the "six part" formula for documenting performance.

Trust Is Like A Lubricant for Supervisor Productivity

They say trust is like a lubricant in a relationship. When it exists, communication increases, ideas flow better, and productivity improves. Supervisor training should include the education and dynamics associated with building trust and how supervisors consciously invest in this art and skill. Trust building begins with you, so start connecting with individual employees one at a time. Share small but not overly intimate details about yourself, and you'll appear more real and approachable. Employees will naturally begin communicating with others in kind, thereby increasing trust between each other. The more you spend time with your employees, the more you'll see this rub off. Offer a positive and optimistic attitude toward your employees' ability to succeed. Find ways to make success happen. Admit mistakes, and employees will appreciate you. It's hard, but it's powerful. Not admitting mistakes throws your relationship into reverse. The payoff for admitting mistakes is appreciation, not less respect. Give credit and praise when you see the opportunity, and make it authentic. Employees want to count for something. Play to that need, and you'll build trust that lasts.