Addiction of one or another kind is bad and dangerous for the individual and his or her family. If an addicted employee is around, it is a tough job for his colleagues, the management and HR. Addiction can range from cigarettes to alcohol to substances to drugs, but they are all equally bad from the organization’s viewpoint.
Damage from these employees
By definition, an addict is one who has developed a dependence on an artificial stimulant. So, this means that the person is very difficult to keep off the habit for long. A person dependent on nicotine will have the need for frequent breaks during working hours to satiate the craving. Similarly, alcoholics need to hit the bottle, come hell or high water, at a particular time of the day. The same is the case with other addictions.
How can HR help?
HR has a proactive role to play in helping the addict do better in terms of productivity, just like it deals with people with illnesses or other psychological ailments such as depression, bipolar disorder and the like. HR has an important act to perform, like referring the patient to a rehab center for instance. It has to first understand that there is a problem employee on its rolls, which it was not able to size up at the time of the interview, or one who developed addiction problems after joining the organization.
Positive and holistic intervention
HR can intervene in positive ways. It is not always going to be easy, because such employees are generally reluctant to accept and reform their habits. However, what HR can do is to bring the family into the picture. It can take the family into confidence and discuss the problem threadbare. It can then take concrete steps to help the employee overcome addiction problems. All this is easier said than done; yet, if HR wants to perform its role of being an organization’s facilitator, it has to perform duties such as this.
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