Train key staff

Managers, supervisors and other key staff have a very important role in the success of alcohol-related initiatives.

Effective training will help them understand the importance of their role and enable them to actively contribute to the programme's success.

How training material is developed and delivered will depend on your organisation’s resources and capability.

External consultants (such as Employee Assistance Programmes, EAPs) can help. However, training developed and delivered ‘in house’, which becomes a regular part of employee training, is more likely to be sustainable.

How training helps

Training aims to give key staff the skills and knowledge to:

  • understand their own role in implementing the policy
  • identify changes in individual workplace performance and behaviour that may indicate alcohol-related problems
  • intervene if an employee is alcohol impaired at work
  • tell employees about the availability of rehabilitation, treatment or counselling services
  • refer employees to rehabilitation, treatment or counselling services
  • support rehabilitated employees, and monitor their performance when they return to work
  • assess the working environment and identify conditions that could be changed or improved to prevent or reduce alcohol-related harm in the workplace.

What to include in the training

Training material will depend on who is being trained but it should usually focus on:

  • understanding what affects people’s drinking
  • workplace policy rationale and how your workplace is planning to tackle alcohol issues
  • what the alcohol procedures are and how they will be implemented
  • identifying and addressing alcohol-related harm in the workplace – eg, poor work performance that seems to be linked to alcohol use, and dealing with intoxication at work
  • building communication, interviewing, and supervision skills.

Training should include practical information that improves awareness and understanding of alcohol-related issues, such as:

  • the effects of alcohol and how to notice the symptoms of problem drinking in employees
  • the impact of problem drinking on the workplace, on the affected employee and their family
  • workplace factors that may contribute to putting people at risk of alcohol harm
  • self-assessment tools and where to get help, such as community resources, support organisations, self-help groups, laws and regulations related to alcohol in the workplace
  • stress management techniques
  • the important role colleagues and families play in changing patterns of behaviour.

Adult learning principles

All training must be consistent with the principles of adult learning, so it must be:

  • autonomous and self-directed
  • based on a foundation of experiences and knowledge
  • goal-oriented
  • relevant and practical, respectful of participants
  • provided for any new employees
  • adaptable to changing circumstances
  • regular and ongoing – regular supervisor training helps maintain interest in reducing alcohol-related harm and keeps the policy active.

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