- “Drinking and inappropriate behaviour often go hand in hand and we continue to need to understand better how to manage unhealthy drinking cultures.”
He also mentioned “a large number of public or private allegations of sexual or other forms of abuse” had been directed to his office, the Department of Defence and also the media in Australia. What remains clear is that the effect of this stream of allegations has had an adverse impact on the image we have of our defence forces, rightly or wrongly. Its “brand” and its integrity had been sorely undermined, and alcohol use is inextricably linked in with this erosion in reputation and community standing.
An organisation or an industry’s brand is an ever-evolving notion that must change with the times, community expectation and our cultural attitudes and values. Not long ago in Australia, the notion of all night drinking binges and partying, “the six o’clock swill” and afternoon drinks, were par for the course. But in the past twenty years, patterns of drinking and drug taking that were perhaps viewed as acceptable are no longer so. Poor or inappropriate alcohol-induced behaviour can have a direct and adverse affect not only on workplace culture and morale, but on the financial and profit value of a company or an industry’s brand.
The 2010 “David Jones” incident involving the retail giant’s CEO Mark McInnes is a case in point. In his resignation statement, McInnes said that ‘there had been two instances of inappropriate behaviour at two separate functions,” and that alcohol had been involved. Andrew Douglas, and Australian workplace lawyer has said “in many areas of society and the workplace it is recognized that alcohol impairs judgment and yet many firms take a completely different approach to the sales side of the business, where drinking with clients is often encouraged.”  He also goes on to add that “booze can in fact be the thing that triggers bad behaviour in these environments, such as poor decision-making, bullying and harassment.”
The use and misuse of alcohol and drugs in a workplace setting may no longer be advocated or accepted, and the impact of such incidents and cases as highlighted in the David Jones case are a stern warning to boards, businesses and brands around the country. The fallout and damage for both the Australian Defence Forces and DJ’s, indicates a shift in what is acceptable and allowable and indicates financial, personal and brand damage to a workplace and its employees.
The use of adequate and clear and enforced alcohol and drug policies are an important means of addressing the issue of brand damage due to alcohol induced behaviour, as is the use of onsite drug and alcohol testing as a component of those policies. In short, prevention may indeed be a wiser approach than post-incident damage control which can be legally costly and time-consuming as well as damaging to brand perception, as has been seen in the ADF and DJ’s incidents.
CMM Technology can help you develop, source and select preventative drug and alcohol testing procedures and technologies that can assist with healthy brand image and accompanying profitability and safety. For more detailed information call CMM Technology on +618 9204 2500
 Stephen Smith, Federal Minister for Defence. http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/Smtihpl.cfm?CurrentID=11678