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Supervisors: The Most Important Drug-free Workplace Ingredient!

Managers and Supervisors: From the CEO to the first-line supervisor, all are responsible for supervising one or more employees. They delegate work, monitor the work/progress and are generally responsible for ensuring the mission of the organization is accomplished. Front-line supervisors are, however, especially important in that they are the ones closest to the employees directly responsible for producing the organization's goods and services. Depending on the organization, their responsibilities can include hiring and training, encouraging and disciplining, effectively communicating policies and directives, handling grievances, and enforcing safety issues. Nowhere else, at any level, is more expected or performance more critical.

Now, more than ever, the role of the supervisor is important in ensuring the efficiency, productivity and "satisfaction" of each employee. In days past, the foreman/supervisor was an "expert" in his area and responsible for overseeing the production of a team focused on a narrow range of tasks. New technology and the introduction of computers has increased productivity and removed many of these labor intensive, repetitive tasks. Now, supervisors manage "people" who may perform many diverse tasks.

What has changed is the pace of change! While a supervisor's job may have once been a relatively simple oversight process because little of the work changed from day-to-day, the supervisor must now include the ability to manage changing tasks and procedures in a more diverse area of responsibility. Perhaps this one single requirement, often driven by technology, separates today's supervisors from those of a decade ago. All of this has occurred in an ever-more competitive environment where organizations are no longer just concerned with competitors in the U.S., but must also be concerned with those from dozens of foreign countries where labor is "cheap" and plentiful.

For all of these reasons, and many more, the pressure on organizations and supervisors to provide the best, most cost-effective product/service possible has never been greater. An employer cannot afford to have employees who are "under-the-influence of drugs or alcohol. Productivity, safety and efficiency demand alert, substance free employees. One way to accomplish this task is to do everything possible to provide efficiencies and savings by ensuring a drug-free workplace.

A drug-free workplace hinges on informed, committed managers and supervisors. The only way for a supervisor to be informed and able to recognize an employee who is "under-the-influence" of drugs or alcohol is through training. The supervisor must be able to recognize the signs, symptoms and performance indicators of impaired employees.

Gary L. Glisan
Superior Training Solutions, Inc.

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