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3.4.99  
Recovery Zone


Managers at Omni Computer Products use some unconventional techniques to tap the talents of ex-addicts and alcoholics. Here's how they do it:


VIEW RECOVERING EMPLOYEES AS LONG-TERM INVESTMENTS
Some will suffer setbacks. Others need to deal with legal, health, or family problems caused by past drug abuse. Be flexible.

WHEN HIRING, SET SOBRIETY STANDARDS AND SCREEN INTENSIVELY
Prospects should demonstrate 30 days' sobriety and participation in a recovery program. Probe commitment to change with multiple interviews and written tests.

PROVIDE IN-HOUSE MENTORS
Mentors offer reassurance and discipline to newly employed and sober workers. Ex-substance abusers often need counseling on basic social and workplace skills.

BE OPEN WITH OUTSIDERS
Turn your dedication to recovering workers into a selling point. Most people have a friend or relative undone by drugs or alcohol. That offsets the stigma attached to addiction.




This article was originally published in the Mar. 1, 1999 print edition of Business Week's Enterprise.


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