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How to Train Staff on Recovery Responsive Programming

Once your recovery responsive workforce policy is established and written, you'll want to ensure each of your key team members are not only trained on the new policy, but that they understand how to support employees experiencing substance misuse issues, as well as their unique roles in enforcing the policy while simultaneously maintaining a positive workforce culture.


Understanding the Roles of Your Team:


  • Employer's Role: The employer is key to the success of the new workplace policy, as well as the strategies and programs that support that policy. Workplace leaders must show support and set the right tone for these efforts. Employees need to understand the rationale for the policy and program in ways that are practical, personally meaningful, and relevant to their job responsibilities.

  • Human Resources’ Role: HR staff have a responsibility to protect the safety and privacy of employees. They are also responsible for communicating the policy and program to new hires and current employees in the right ways at the right times.

  • Supervisors' Role: Supervisors have numerous responsibilities that are critical to the success of your new workplace policy and program. They are often the first to notice and to be informed of a possible problem, and they must be fair and consistent in enacting the policy.

Implementing Employee Education


According to SAMHSA, substance use education and prevention are ongoing processes. Many employees do not seek help for their addiction problems because they are worries that these problems may be negatively viewed or they will be fired. Employees will be more willing to seek the help they need when there is a recovery responsive policy in place and they have an understanding that employers care for their overall health and well-being.


You'll want to communicate the value your organization places on your employee's personal health, as well as the health of their families and communities. An employee education program should clearly communicate the hazards related to using substances and the benefits of avoiding it. When designing education materials and trainings, you should consider addressing the concerns of employees who are:

  • Interested in a range of health promotion and wellness issues—such as stress management, pain management, nutrition and disease prevention;

  • Concerned family members who want to learn how to effectively communicate with other family members about substance misuse;

  • Concerned about their own or their friends' substance misuse; Interested in being part of community-based prevention activities;

  • Interested in confidential, one-on-one education on addiction and related behavioral health issues; and

  • Interested in learning more about providing education and training for staff.

How Recovery Business Association Can Help


RBA provides a variety of trainings that are specific to your management teams, Human Resource staff and employees. The goals of these trainings are to ensure that each department understands their roles and how to implement the policy in a way that supports employee's overall health and well-being, reduces absenteeism and tardiness, enhances employee morale and creativity, and ultimately, increases your bottom line.


RBA's employer trainings provide information on:

  • how to appropriately address, handle and care for employees experiencing addiction problems and other behavioral health issues;

  • how to review the workplace's policy, program, and rules with new hires and existing employees; how to discuss how employees and their families can get help;

  • how to address employee performance issues due to substance misuse;

  • how to explain and implement employee protections that are included in the policy;

  • information about substance misuse and their effects on performance; and

  • prevention education efforts and resources available to employees in your area.


RBA provides additional training for employees so they can understand the new policy, how the company plans to implement the policy and the type of support available to them through the organization should they begin to experience addiction and/or other behavioral health issues.