Chameleon Group is honored to have recently been featured in a Fortune article for our role as a New Hampshire recovery-friendly workplace!
During his interview, founder Dana Lariviere shared our story, and discussed how he shifted Chameleon’s corporate culture and the workplace wellness program ideas that have worked well for us—plus a few mistakes and lessons along the way.
Keep reading for a few highlights from the article below.
Recovery-friendly workplaces focus on breaking the stigma of substance use disorder (SUD) by hiring and supporting employees in addiction recovery. These employers work to eliminate obstacles people in recovery face to increase their chances of success.
As Dr. Rahul Gupta puts it, a recovery-ready workplace gives people struggling with SUD people to talk to and a sense of community, a place where they don’t feel they have to hide their disease.
Forty-six million people—or 16.5% of Americans—over age 12 suffer from at least one SUD, according to the 2021 National Survey of Drug Use and Health. The survey also reported that only 8% of those who need treatment receive it.
Not to mention, addiction costs businesses, too. A 2016 surgeon general report estimates SUD costs society $442 billion. In other words, every employee who recovers from an SUD can save their employer more than $8,500 on average.
Simply put, employers have a huge opportunity to make a positive impact in this area!
Supporting those in recovery benefits your employees and your business. By implementing a recovery-friendly workplace toolkit, you’ll help employees:
Additionally, focusing on the mental health and well-being of your employees will help your company:
Overall, becoming a recovery-friendly employer fosters a safe, healthy, and inclusive workplace culture!
In 2016, Dana got a call from a former employee who had been let go years before for attendance and reliability issues. Now a recovery coach, she shared that she had been addicted to heroin when she last worked for Chameleon and was calling to make amends.
Dana took a chance and rehired her, and, in his words, “she knocked it out of the park.” This completely shifted Chameleon’s corporate culture and perspective on SUD. Dana and the team began educating themselves on the area and focusing on hiring those in addiction recovery. Seven years later, there are times when more than half of our team is in that category!
We were also among the first organizations to join New Hampshire’s Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative. Launched by Governor Chris Sununu, this program gives workplaces resources to develop a positive, supportive environment for employees in recovery that encourages success for these hardworking individuals.
Another success story is that of Geoff Booker, now our Director of Sales. When he joined Chameleon, he was fresh out of rehab and brand new to the sales world. In his nearly six years with our team, Geoff went from homeless and rose through the ranks to Sales Trainer, then Inside Sales Manager, and now Director of Sales. He’s even back in school!
As a New Hampshire recovery-friendly workplace, we’ve learned how to identify and support employees in recovery. We also recognize that SUD is a disease, not a matter of poor behavior or morals. And when we approach these people with empathy, an open mind, and a willingness to give them a second chance, the outcome can be amazing for both them and our business.
Of course, we’ve also made some mistakes and always strive to improve by:
Our own employees inspired Chameleon to become a New Hampshire recovery-friendly workplace. Since then, we’ve learned so much from these efforts and the wonderful people we’ve hired. Plus, we’ve gotten to support them on their recovery journey and watch them find success and happiness in both their personal and professional lives! And it’s benefited our business by building a more diverse team and improving retention and productivity.
Thank you to Fortune for the feature and for allowing us a platform to share our experience as a recovery-friendly workplace. We are so passionate about this area and believe spreading the word is crucial. Read the full Fortune article today!
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