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5 steps to create a safe and productive workplace

How do you help an employee with an addiction?

Addiction costs Canadian employers over $24 billion a year in lost productivity! (Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, 2006).

75% of people with an addiction are employed!

So it would come as no surprise that at one time or another, as a manager or an employer, you would struggle with the question of ‘how do you help a worker with an addiction?’

Dealing with an employee who is struggling with an addiction issue to alcohol, drugs, gambling or sexual addiction is not easy. But on the flip side, ignoring the problem is even more costly. In almost every case, it is more cost effective to help an employee get well than to find, train and replace a worker. Discover more: Calculating the Cost of an Addicted Employee.

Helping an employee with an addiction begin with a strategic framework that educates, communicates and facilitates a clean, positive and productive workplace.

Educate! Communicate! Facilitate!


(1) Communicate! Build a workplace culture that ensures your employees feel safe about approaching you to discuss their own – or a co-worker’s – problem.

(2) Educate! Learn how to identify signs of potential substance abuse and how to approach your employee to discuss your concerns. Discover more: Signs of Addiction

(3) Facilitate! Encourage your employees to seek help and offer them guidance, support and financial assistance to make it easier for them to get the best quality treatment.

(4) Be Involved! Learn how you can support them during treatment and when they return to work.

(5) Outline! Plan and layout your expectations and conditions of your ongoing support, including post-treatment support programs, reporting, monitoring and testing.

Building an effective framework will help you effectively manage an employee with addiction. In turn, this will save you and your company time, money and resources.