Educate managers and supervisors
Since supervisors and managers will have an active role in implementing and enforcing the impairment policy, they need to understand their roles, responsibilities and obligations.
Be able to recognize the signs
Supervisors and managers who see and interact with employees regularly often become familiar with their habits and typical behaviours, responses and work performance. As they get to know the people who report to them, managers and supervisors are well placed to identify changes in employee attitudes or behaviours that may reflect an impairment issue. Resources below will help you understand signs and symptoms that commonly accompany an impairment issue.
Be prepared for challenging conversations
When an employee discloses they are or may be impaired or when a supervisor observes or learns of a worker who may be impaired, the supervisor and the responsible manager must be ready to respond quickly and effectively, and consistent with the policy. To do that, they must have a clear understanding of the steps they need to take. They also need to have great “soft skills” for the conversations and communications that follow. Use the resources below to help build your skills.
- Substance Abuse Resource Guide for Employers
- Communication skills for supervisors
- Supervisor: Roles and responsibilities
Be prepared to take action
When a supervisor or manager observes or receives a report of an employee who may be impaired, they need to know what to do next – and be ready to do that. A discipline policy with objective thresholds and clearly specified actions enables your team to act fairly and consistently. There are two common approaches:
- a separate discipline policy that applies across all company policies
- specific measures embedded in the impairment policy.
To develop the policy that’s right for your organization, get appropriate human resources and legal advice.