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Drug Free Program Links:


Program Overview


Why Drug Free?


Drug Free Workplace Programs


Program Components


Drug Testing


Drug Free Workplace Policy


Employee Education


Avoiding ATOD Problems


Employee Assistance Programs


Supervisor Training


Successful Drug Free Workplace Program


Program Evaluation


















Supervisor Training for Drug Testing


Supervisors can play a central role in an effective drug-free workplace program. More than anyone else in the organization, they are in a position to recognize changes in an employee’s job performance. The role of supervisors is so important that a separate section of this kit is devoted to the supervisor’s role in a drug-free workplace program.

In smaller companies, the employer and the supervisor may be the same person. Whatever the size of your organization, review the Supervisor’s Guide, as it will help you to conceptualize your program and ensure that you and your staff focus on job performance as opposed to personal issues.

The Supervisor’s Role

Training supervisors to assist in implementing a drug-free workplace program can be an effective management tool. It can help them to be better supervisors, and it can help employees be more accountable for their job performance.

Supervisors have a variety of responsibilities within a drug-free workplace program. Supervisors should:
  • Know the organization’s program and policy, including the rationale for the program and specific details about drug testing procedures, if applicable, as well as other components
  • Be able to explain the program to employees
  • Know where to refer employees for help and information
  • Understand and accept the importance of supervision as a tool for implementing the policy -- recognizing that the supervisor is the best judge of employee performance.

Supervisors are not expected to provide substance abuse counseling. Neither should they try to diagnose alcohol or other drug problems. If a supervisor suspects an alcohol, drug-related, or other problem, particularly as evidenced by poor job performance or conduct, the employee should be referred for professional evaluation and assistance.

The Supervisor: Enforcer or Advocate?

Because an important responsibility of supervisors is to observe and evaluate employee job performance, they can be effective advocates for employees. They can encourage employees to deal with work-related problems that may or may not be connected with alcohol or other drug use. They also can suggest sources of help and support, such as an employee assistance program (EAP) or local treatment program, when an employee has problems.

If an employee has been given a chance to improve job performance but hasn’t changed his or her behavior, the supervisor may need to take a more forceful approach. Still, the emphasis should be on improving the employee’s job performance, not on judging the employee.

What Supervisors Need To Know

All supervisors should be provided with basic information about the program and their role in carrying it out. This includes:
  • The rationale and specific details of the program startup and implementation
  • The supervisor’s specific responsibilities for initiating and carrying out the drug-free workplace policy and program
  • Ways to use the Employee Fact Sheets and/or posters and decal in this kit as a source of information and employee education
  • How to recognize and deal with employees who have job performance problems that may or may not be related to alcohol or other drugs, including personal and family problems.

Guidelines For Effective Supervision

Be attentive.
Be ready to recognize employee problems (e.g., accidents, frequent lateness, mood swings) that may or may not be related to alcohol or other drug abuse.
Focus on specific aspects of job performance.
Keep an ongoing record of the employee’s performance.
Focus on job performance.
Avoid judging, diagnosing, or counseling the employee.
Be thoughtful.
Stay nonjudgmental and recognize the employee’s point of view.
Be straightforward.
Stick to the facts of job performance; don’t get sidetracked.
Be consistent.
Follow the same procedures for all employees.
Maintain confidentiality.
Discuss employee problems in private and keep the discussion between the two of you.
Encourage troubled employees to seek help from the resources available in the workplace or the community.
Follow up.
Continue to assess employee job performance over a period of time.

How To Provide Supervisor Training

Supervisor training can be provided in a variety of ways, depending on available time and resources. These can include:
  • Training the supervisors yourself
  • Having a consultant from a local community agency or EAP conduct the training (they may offer role playing and other training methods that are not possible with written materials only)
  • Using the Supervisor Materials and Employee Fact Sheets in this kit, as well as any other materials provided by the employer or a consultant.

Supervisor Training Checklist

___ Decide how supervisor training will be done -- where, when, by whom, and with what materials.

___ Hold a meeting to inform supervisors about the drug-free workplace program, the organization’s policy, and their role in carrying it out.

___ Distribute the Supervisor’s Guide and Employee Fact Sheets.

___ Instruct supervisors to fill in the local resource phone numbers on the last page of each Employee Fact Sheet before distributing them (if you have not already done so yourself).

___ Schedule follow-up training or use the materials in this kit as self-instructional guidance.

___ Follow up with additional resources, booster sessions, question-and-answer sessions, and program review.



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