Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Classic Alcoholic Interventions with Employees --- FORGET-ABOUT-IT!
Reasonable suspicion training in the workplace does not include information on doing interventions. And it should not. However, the idea may cross your mind someday, and you need to forget about doing them. You have probably seen interventions on television. There was a television show once (or maybe it is still on) that showed how these were typically done. They involve confronting an alcoholic or drug addict with a group of family members in a surprise meeting designed to create a manufactured crisis of emotional proportions that motivates the addict to enter addiction treatment without delay. Don't do these interventions (the classical form of them) in the workplace. Not only will they not work, but you could get royally sued. Interventions do, absolutely work. They are marvelous tools, but they require two things. The right leverage and the right influence for the context in which they occur; and 2) a bit of instruction in the approach and delivery. I will add a third critical addition--never use a professional counselor or addiction expert in an intervention in the workplace as a buffer, reference expert, or just to have on hand in case the employee goes postal. Doing this violates a principle in the helping professions called "client self-determination" and it can elicit a lawsuit. Instead only use (in the workplace) those individuals with senior management positions and the authority to fire the employee. Only focus on the job issues and roll out the red carpet and the source of help for a professional assessment. IF the employee would like to go, great! If not, say, "Pick up your check!" This is the one-minute intervention. If the employee does not want to go to the assessment, terminate for cause. If you are not ready to terminate your employee, then don't do the intervention. Just let the problem get worse. You will be back in the future to terminate -- guaranteed. Secret Trick: If the employee makes the wrong choice, give him or her 24 hours to think it over. He or she will change the mind 90% of the time. Base your intervention only on performance, attendance, conduct, availability, and attitude on the job. The goal of the referral is assessment and referral to professional help IF THE EMPLOYEE WOULD LIKE TO GO--not you. You don't care! That is your position. DO NOT DEVIATE FROM IT.