Share the Policy with all Employees
Clear communication about the importance and benefits of a drug-free workplace to employees is essential to the success of the program. Begin with the formation of the workgroup and the development of the policy. Be sure to communicate the value the organization places on the personal health of employees, their families, and their communities. Announce (e.g., with a letter to all employees from the CEO) that having a drug-free workplace and preventing drug and alcohol problems among your employees and their families is a major corporate emphasis.
- Fully explain the benefits and procedures of your drug-free workplace program or policy to all employees.
- Communicate to your employees the potential risks that drug abuse (including alcohol) poses for organizations—and yours in particular.
- Communicate to your employees the connection between substance abuse and health problems. Include moderate alcohol consumption guidelines for men and women who can safely drink alcohol.
- Give the employees an adjustment period (30 – 60 days) from the time that they learn of the policy (Drug Free Workplace Program) to the time that it is implemented and takes effect. This will allow time for adjustment, questions and answers, and understanding.
Effective ways to communicate about Drug Free Workplace Program include:
- Distribute printed materials as flyers, brochures, and payroll stuffers
- Create substance abuse awareness campaigns, using posters and employee newsletter articles
- At meetings, hold question-and-answer sessions, or brown bag luncheon presentations
- Review the policy and program when new employees are hired
- Post on your organizations intranet site information and links to websites that feature educational materials
Employers who are successful at this know it is important to repeat the message periodically using a variety of communication methods to inform employees, customers, and the community about the drug-free workplace program. 1
Keep in mind that if you wish to expand your Drug Free Workplace Program to beyond the policy, current research indicates that integrating substance abuse prevention education, organization policy, and access to help within a broader health framework leads to greater employee interest and impact. 2 Integrating substance abuse prevention with other health topics such as stress management, nutrition/weight management, and physical activity enables the organization to go a long way toward diminishing the stigma associated with seeking early assistance for a potential alcohol or other drug problem.
1- Ensuring Communication: http://www.dol.gov/elaws/asp/drugfree/employee/screen72.asp
2- SAMHSA, Drug Free Workplace KIT, Employee Education