Ken Crosland, from Ark for Business, explains how the organisation can help businesses to address alcohol and drug abuse among employees.
In 2010, the UK passed the one million mark for alcohol-related hospital admissions. In the same year it retained its title at the top of the European league table of cocaine use.
Hospitality has always experienced its fair share of related problems, largely because of the long unsocial hours. In recent years, the problem has been compounded by the greater pressure passed on to managers and staff as a result of the economic situation.
Where problems occur, too often they're hidden - disguised by the individual, or unrecognised by the manager. As well as the human cost, it can badly harm the business, affecting profitability, morale, safety and reputation. If mishandled it can result in a costly legal or tribunal challenge.
Since 2007, the Ark for Business - part of Hospitality Action - has worked with more than 50 leading hospitality employers to help them manage this risk. We offer three key elements: developing robust policy, training effective managers and raising employee awareness.
The Ark works so well because the presenters are industry professionals who beat their own addiction problems and are in long-term continuous recovery. As such we use this experience to help give a greater insight to managers in approaching this subject, and have credibility when speaking to employees precisely because we have been there ourselves - this often leads to individuals acknowledging a problem for the first time.
As well as understanding addiction, we understand business. While the major motive for our clients is to safeguard employees, there are hard commercial benefits.
Alcohol and drugs don't discriminate, and any size, location or type of hospitality business is vulnerable to the effects of misuse. The last four UK Hoteliers of the Year have all worked with Ark for Business to help deliver their organisation's corporate social responsibility around this subject, and strike the right balance between the provision of help whilst maintaining standards. We can help your business address this subject in a similarly sensitive, respectful and effective way.
Ark for Business regional workshops