Workforce Development- Are you up to date?

The approach to alcohol and other drugs has undergone seismic shifts in the workplace

culture in Australia over the past decade. Where once privacy and individual rights prevented any workplace exploration or employer involvement in these issues, today the need for safety and assured risk reduction are seen as presiding factors that have the potential to override former. As Occupational Health and Safety and Risk Management move from a peripheral to centre-stage concern for senior-management, the need for drug and alcohol programs and approaches that correlate with these has become essential.  Broadly speaking, Ann Roche, Director of the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) at Flinders University states there is now the need for a set of “conceptual building blocks of workplace development,” that involves not only training, but “organizational development, change management, evidence-based knowledge transfer and skill development.” [1]

Workforce development is a broad umbrella term used to encapsulate a wide range of factors pertaining to individuals and the organisations within which they operate and the systems that surround them

WFD Strategies must operate on four levels to be effective:

Level 1             Systems (e.g., funding, legislation)

Level 2             Organisations (e.g., policies, resources, supervision)

Level 3             Teams (e.g., support, cohesion)

Level 4             Individuals (e.g., motivation, skill, rewards).[2]

In this sense, workforce development moves beyond a consideration of the individual or singular problem, and addresses the systemic and multilayered factors that create either a culture of optimal workplace wellbeing and performance, or a workplace that is unwittingly contributing to the stress and AOD issues or practices of those overseeing the drug and alcohol issues in a particular workplace, as well as the employees. As Broome et al. note, a systemic workforce development approach will include “both structural features and staff perceptions of personal efficacy, organizational climate, and communal workplace practices, which will then relate to better overall client engagement. These findings add further evidence that treatment providers should also address the workplace environment for staff as part of quality-improvement efforts.”[3]

A constant review and feed-backing of information concerning approaches to drug and alcohol issues is therefore essential. Refinement, re-evaluation, re-consideration and openness to address concerns with an “open-door policy” result in the best outcomes for all. In many cases, given the sensitive nature of AOD in the workplace, an effective Workforce Development Program may require outsourcing of drug testing in order to maintain employee satisfaction, contentment and reduced conflict or comprises to the process.

Effectiveness outcomes for organisations can be summed up in terms of a “provision of high quality services that meet clients’ needs and a provision of policies, procedures and resources

to support and improve workers’ skills & abilities.”[4]

CMM Technology stays abreast of latest insights into Workforce Development and understands the need for the provision of high quality provisions and resources that may help to support and improve your workforce’s abilities and skills.

Call CMM Technology on 08 9204 2500 for more information.


[1] Roche, A.M. What is This Thing Called Workforce Development? http://www.nceta.flinders.edu.au/pdf/proceedings2001/roche.pdf

[2] Workforce Development Tips. Theory Into Practice Strategies. A Resource Kit for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Field. http://www.nceta.flinders.edu.au/pdf/TIPS/01-Introduction.pdf

[3] Broome, K. Flynn , P. M., Knight., D. K., and Simpson, D. D.

Program Structure, Staff Perceptions, and Client Engagement in Treatment. Institute of Behavioural Research, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. USA.

[4] Workforce Development Tips. Theory Into Practice Strategies. A Resource Kit for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Field. http://www.nceta.flinders.edu.au/pdf/TIPS/01-Introduction.pdf

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