This content is part of the Vision for the Public Sector Zone and the Wellbeing Zone
Transport for London – Developing online alcohol awareness approaches for employees
Transport for London (TfL) has an exemplary approach to alcohol issues across its workforce. The company has a well communicated alcohol (and drug)policy which is covered extensively at induction stating that employees coming forward with concerns about their drinking will be protected from disciplinary action if they comply and follow the advice given. However, as a safety critical industry, employees who fail a breath test are subject to possible dismissal.
TfL have a pioneering in-house alcohol assessment and treatment unit, which provides confidential assessment, advice and support for employees with alcohol (as well as drug) problems. Employees requiring treatment or counseling for their alcohol problem can be referred to external agencies.
TfL regularly initiates alcohol awareness activities among employees, including resources on the intranet, posters and flyers. In 2013 TfL worked with the social enterprise Alcohol Health Network, to develop an online tool for their employees, which would complement the existing alcohol awareness approach within TfL. Alcohol Health Network aims to promote alcohol awareness across workforces with campaigns and web-tools for employees.
The tool is designed to promote alcohol awareness and understanding of units and drinking guidelines as well as to feedback on health risks
if drinking above recommended levels. During the first and last quarter of 2013, employees were able to use the confidential online alcohol self assessment tool – this was promoted via posters, email alerts, e-newsletters and in-house publications throughout the workplace. AHN’s internet-based tool uses the Identification and Brief Advice model, which as well as helping employees identify if their drinking is above recommended guidelines, also provides bespoke feedback on the company’s policy on alcohol use, reinforces the message that employees who come forward will be supported by Occupational Health and signposts to the internal Drug and Alcohol Assessment Team, as well as external avenues of support. The website has run alongside two alcohol awareness campaigns in 2013-14 and has now been used by over 1,000 employees.
In a follow up survey completed by employees who had used the tool, 88% found it useful, 52% felt the website would help them think differently about their drinking and help them stick to lower drinking levels, 25% said they would now be more likely to seek support, 56% said they would use the site again and 72% said they would recommend the site to a colleague. The online alcohol self-assessment approach has given TfL a new preventative tool for employees to add to TfL’s overall strategy on handling alcohol issues in the workplace.
The results from the online survey campaign have given TfL demographic data about alcohol awareness levels in the organisation and knowledge of how employees engage with online web tools. This will help shape future campaigns and engagement strategies. Lessons learnt include the need to plan and utilise a number of promotion strategies in the workplace and to reassure employees that the company is conducting alcohol awareness campaigns as it is concerned about supporting employees to remain healthy outside of work.
The content was provided to Engage for Success by:
Don Shenker – Director & Founder, Alcohol Health Network
020 3151 2420 / 07718 316 201