Benefits of Workplace Drug Testing for Employers and Employees

Many employers drug test workers because they have to; hence, they see it as an expense instead of an investment with a real ROI. Workplace drug testing is one tool that allows employers to make sure that safety and productivity remain optimal, both of which provide quantifiable returns on the cost of the tests.

Jared Rosenthal
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Many employers drug test workers because they "have to"; hence, they see it as an expense instead of an investment with a real ROI. Employment drug testing is one tool that allows employers to make sure that safety and productivity remain optimal, both of which provide quantifiable returns on the cost of the tests.

ATTENTION HR professionals and managers: who among us doesn't understand that if we had more dependable team members, we would generate greater short-term and long-term savings and profits? All of us get it, instinctually, and all of us have experienced how the high cost of turnover cuts into the bottom line. Yet few companies take advantage of a simple, proven to be effective tool: expanding random employee drug testing programs. At little cost, you can reap huge rewards. Here's how:

Impact of Drug Use in the Workplace

Beyond the obvious safety concern that drug use in the work place presents to coworkers and customers, there are numerous other negative impacts for a business. The Department of Labor reports a few:

  • Loss of Productivity: Time off and early dismissal were requested more than twice as often by drug-using employees. They were also 250% more likely "to have absences of eight days or more" and absent 66% more often than those who had passed pre-employment drug tests.
  • Burden to Benefits Programs: Drug-using employees, according to NIDA, were 360% "more likely to be involved in a workplace accident" and 500% "more likely to file a workers' compensation claim" than others.
  • Longevity: Three out of four employees who failed pre-employment drug tests were discharged within three years. Higher turnover means higher costs associated with training replacements, and more lost productivity.

Benefits of Drug Testing for Employers

  • 1. Deter current employees from engaging in drug use
  • 2. Prevent the need for substance abuse recovery programs
  • 3. Reduce health insurance costs
  • 4. Reduce likelihood of performance issues such as missed deadlines, inconsistent work quality, fatigue etc...
  • 5. Improve attendance and employee productivity
  • 6. Providing a safer workplace with reduced accidents

Benefits of Drug Testing for Employees (Staff)

  • 1. Employees want a working environment that is safe
  • 2. Employees in safety sensitive jobs want piece of mind
  • 3. Alcohol and Substances are the cause of many on the job

Return on Investment (ROI) of Employee Drug Testing

Improved productivity, reduced liability, lowered insurance premiums, and lower staff turnover have all been attributed to employment drug testing. In one year alone, a mechanical contracting company in Florida saved $100,000 on Workers' Compensation premiums alone (helped by that state's laws, of course, which reward drug-free workplaces).

Maximizing Benefits of Employee Drug Testing

It's simple - the way to get maximum ROI is to weed out more drug users.

  • Stop thinking that a simple 5 panel drug test is all you need - you are missing out on testing for trendy, new designer drugs that are not included in the traditional panels.
  • Stop thinking that simply pre-employment drug testing gets the job done. People clean up when they need a job - it's a powerful incentive. So, set up a random pool to ensure ongoing deterrence of the illicit employee drug use which harms productivity.
  • Use hair testing as a condition of all internal promotions.
  • Ask a drug testing company to come on-site monthly or quarterly or even twice a year to do surprise tests at the start of a shift. Employmee drug testing can be conducted on-site or off-site, but when conducted on-site, it can reduce the small risk of cheating, and reduces the time frame from notification to testing. It can also save you labor costs and time in transit.
  • And of course, reasonable suspicion and post accident testing policies are de riguer for a comprehensive drug-free workplace.

The math is simple - a drug free workforce saves you, and earns you, more money. A comprehensive employment drug testing program as outlined above is best way to ensure you have a workforce that is truly drug free. This is a no-brainer, folks. Don't just "say" that you test your employees so you check that box; this time, make it happen, and reap the benefits.

Jared Rosenthal

Jared Rosenthal

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