How Likely are You to be Affected by Your Employees’ Substance Abuse?

In a prolonged study performed by Garman, Leech and Grable, three major problems in an employee’s life can cause their employer a great deal of money and lower their productivity to less than 50% of their previous performance. These three problems are: Substance abuse, marital problems and poor financial management. Yes, that’s right. Your employees can affect you this way.

Substance abuse not only affects the user, but also the people directly involved in the user’s life. Garman, Leech and Grable describe, through a complete and thorough methodology, how negative work variables are not only caused by stress but also induce higher stress, as well. [1] These variables include, but are not limited to, family problems, absenteeism, drug abuse, alcoholism, gambling, threat of on-the-job injury, poor financial management and threat of job loss. All of these factors are catalysts in unsafe and unproductive working environments, both being the result and causing of  job related stress. The study describes how the workplace, which should be an efficient and smoothly operating machine, can become a hotbed of negative personal, professional and financial habits due to the collaborative behavior of your staff. In other words, if they start handling their finances badly, you are 50% more likely to do the same. If they start engaging in irresponsible drug abuse in the workplace, you are 50% more likely to be influenced and follow in their footsteps. The same thing applies to alcoholism, gambling and irresponsible safety procedures.

Robert Cialdini describes an interesting phenomenon in psychology concerning influence. [2] Once an individual has taken a stand concerning an issue and has made their commitment known to the public, they are far more likely to find ways to support their decision or commitment and feel much more confident about their choice. For example, punters at the racetrack feel significantly more confident about the winning chances of their chosen horse after they place a bet, as opposed to how they feel before they place the bet. Now that they have committed to a choice, any internal or external evidence which can be found to support this decision is immediately on the forefront of their minds. If you refuse to test your employees for alcohol and drugs and decide to “let it slide,” you are condoning their behavior not only within their environment, but also within your own mind. In order to justify your own behavior, your mind will begin to think of drug and alcohol abuse as “not that important” and “not very dangerous.”

Take a stand for the sake of your staff and the sake of your own personal choices. Have all of your employees tested for drugs and alcohol on a regular basis. Otherwise, you might find excuses to condone their choices and make them part of your own behavior. Contact CMM Technology today: +618-9204-2500.

1. Garman, E. Thomas, Irene Leech, and John Grable. “The Negative Impact Of Employee Poor Personal Financial Behaviors on Employers.” Virginia Tech. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2011.

2. Cialdini, Robert B.. Influence: the psychology of persuasion. Rev. ed. ; 1st Collins business essentials ed. New York: Collins, 2007. Print.

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