A balanced scorecard is a strategic business strategy designed to help managers align business activities with the corporate mission. It is a measurement tool for monitoring progress and performance against pre-established goals and can be instrumental in keeping a business focused on end goals within the framework of its vision and mission. Scorecarding can take many forms, but it is always intended to keep the business on tract to reach goals. Therefore, it should be no surprise that there is a scorecard for benchmarking the federal and state governments progress in reducing the harms associated with alcohol consumption. However, employers also need to ask themselves how they score on their efforts to maintain drug and alcohol free workplaces. It is not enough to simply put a zero tolerance policy in place. The policy must be supported with solid strategies and procedures that are goal-oriented and regularly measured.
In other words, each employer should ask itself: How do we measure up in terms of maintaining a drug and alcohol free workplace? Is the drug and alcohol testing program working? The only way to answer those questions is by setting goals, tracking incidences where substances are involved, and assessing whether goals are being met or whether progress is being made towards those goals.
Most employers establishing a drug and alcohol policy will state a zero tolerance policy. Reasonably speaking, why would any employer adopt anything more lenient? However, it may take some effort and time to reach the goal through the adoption and administration of training and development workshops and a drug and a well-managed alcohol testing program. The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) National Alcohol Policy Scoreboard uses a scorecard approach to assess the progress of federal and state governments towards preventing and reducing harms related to alcohol use by comparing actual performance against policy criteria.1 The purpose is to strengthen weak performance and to acknowledge strong results. This same approach can be used by businesses that want to ensure their efforts to maintain drug and alcohol free organisations stay on track.
The NAAA scorecard naturally addresses factors like alcohol marketing, public health oriented taxation policies, and regulating physical availability. Those these are social policy and procedural issues relevant to governments and not businesses, employers can adopt many of the other criteria within their organizations. For example, instead of a “whole-of-government” strategic plan for prevention and reduction of alcohol-related harm, an employer can develop a “whole-of-business” plan and then measure results against the plan. Other areas where scorecarding applies includes:
- How health oriented are policies and is workforce health improving as evidenced through reduced incidences of drug or alcohol related incidences?
- Is physical availability of alcohol minimized by workplace policies limiting drinking at employer sponsored events?
- Are employees operating vehicles regularly tested for drugs and alcohol as a risk minimisation strategy? Are the number of incidences at zero or declining?
- Has the educational program raised awareness of the drug and alcohol policy and potential harms resulting from substance abuse, as measured by employee surveys?
- Is there an employee assistance plan in place and are employees choosing to get help rather than be terminated? Are employees successfully reintegrated into the workplace?
- Is data collected on drug and alcohol related incidences and testing results?
Linking Performance to Results
Can governments “flunk” their scorecard assessments? The NAAA does believe that the Australian government should be making greater progress in reducing society’s harms resulting from excessive alcohol consumption by changing pricing and taxation policies. The highest score awarded on the annual scorecard was 57 percent and that went to the Australian Capital Territory with Western Australia ranking number 2 at 53 percent.2 Employers should consider how they would “rank” themselves against their goals. If the data indicates there is a need for improvement, it is time to rethink the strategic plans. Is the random drug and alcohol testing inclusive of the whole workforce? Are there safety sensitive positions that need more regular testing? Is there a declining number of workers testing positive for drugs and alcohol? Are the educational workshops effective or do they need revising?
Scorecarding alcohol and drug policies and procedures require defining an organizational vision, setting goals, designing appropriate strategies and activities to meet those goals, and regularly assessing how well those activities are working to meet the goals. Key activities include The quality drug and alcohol testing products CMM Technology (cmm.com.au) offers employers are crucial to maintaining a substance free workplace. Accurate random testing ensures the workplace scorecard indicates effective policies and procedures are in place.
- NAAA. (2013). National Alcohol Policy Scorecard. Retrieved January 19, 2014, from National Alliance for Action on Alcohol: http://bit.ly/LDVLGU
- Brian Vandenberg. (2013). What a Fizzer: Most jurisdictions flunk the alcohol policy scorecard. Retrieved January 19, 2013 from Drink Tank: http://bit.ly/1exjoh8.