A crash course in changing the world.
Evergreen Forestry Management Ltd. (EFML) is a joint enterprise of the Hay River
Dene Band and the Fort Providence Dene band in the Northwest
Territories. In 1990, Evergreen Forestry Management Ltd. won a five-year
contract from the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) to
manage fire suppression in the area around the communities of Hay River
and Fort Providence. The company recognized early on that alcoholism
among employees threatened EFML's success. Absenteeism and low
productivity were chronic problems. These issues were critical, as the
company's contract with the GNWT stipulated that the absence of one crew
member could result in the dismissal of an entire team. The company developed an
employee assistance program to address alcoholism among its employees.
The program's approach is based on an organized system of education and
intervention, which incorporates "constructive confrontation." The
program involves family and other community members in providing support
to the employee. Key factors which have lead to the program's success
include organizational and community support, an objective style of
management, clear roles and procedures, and an effective use of
community resources. Since the program's start in 1992, EFML has seen an
improvement in worker health, better relations between management and
employees, and a renewal of the company's contract to fight fires.