The HR Indiana Conference 2017 sponsored by the Indiana State Council SHRM was amazing. Every year, I walk away from the conference with so much knowledge and a renewed sense of power that we hold as HR professionals. I encourage you to use your momentum to engage and embrace the culture of your company. You may be that single thread that keeps the faith in the people while continually pushing the company forward.
One session that I’d like to take time to highlight was the Addiction in the Workplace presentation by Rigo Garcia from the Parkdale Center for Professionals in Northern Indiana. He is a Chief Anesthetist, husband, father, and he, himself, battled addiction. After hitting rock bottom, he fought through every obstacle to get back in to his profession, and now is the Co-Founder and Executive Director at Parkdale. He shared that 1 in 3 people know someone battling addiction and 1 in 10 suffer from addiction. I feel like HR might even know more.
Our HR profession encourages us to not only be sure our staff are trained properly and follow safety rules and regulations, but more importantly, to utilize our staff to their fullest potential. Rigo wanted the audience to understand the cost of not doing anything for our team members that are battling addiction. Think about the risk you take every day if you are allowing someone to function in your company under the influence. The list is endless; cost of high turnover, potential legal exposure, customer interactions, safety concerns, loss of productivity, and creating a culture that does not “handle” these difficult situations.
Do not be that employer that just waits for another absence or disciplinary action to happen. Rigo suggests we watch for behavioral cues (slow reaction time, irritability, lack of motivation, changes in behavior) and physical changes (weight loss, sweating, chills, smells of alcohol) and emotional attributes (aggression, burnout, anxiety, depression). Any one or a combination of these signs could indicate someone is battling an addiction. Do not ignore the signs, and teach your managers to identify them.
Do not isolate a person if they are showing these signs. The stigma is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome. That person needs to know that you are behind their journey to recovery. Start by considering the following:
Purple Ink has helped clients in the past identify and navigate the process of someone battling addiction in the workplace. If you need help, please reach out. More than likely, we wish someone would have reached out to our friend or family member at work. Wouldn’t it be a relief if support came from both home and work? Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or additional information on this topic.