Unproductive employees are a problem for almost any business. Whether it is a lack of interest in the job role, a poor work history or even something as extreme as drug and alcohol abuse, there are a few simple ways that employers can protect their company from the cycle of hiring unproductive workers.
Listen up employers, CEO’s and business owners, here are three sure-fire ways to improve your business productivity and profits:
- Verify work and education history
It is critically important for any company to determine whether the information a job applicant provides is genuine, by instituting a verification process. Whether it’s their work history or their education history, 53% of job applications contain inaccurate information, so you can’t always take an applicant’s word as truth.
Be sure to verify previous employment claims (such as positions, timeline and successes) as well as education claims (including school and grades). Also check references, for both education and work – this will give you a better overall picture of the potential employee.
It’s a vague term, but what we are referring to here really are criminal record checks and drug testing. According to statistics on drug abuse by American workers, workplace drug and alcohol use costs U.S. businesses an estimated $100 billion each year. In addition, 30% of all business failures are caused by employee theft. So don’t take these checks lightly - doing it right could save your business down the line.
Most importantly, really listen. To the candidates, to their references, to their record and to your team. It’s easy to want to make a quick hire, but it’s incredibly important you minimize hiring mistakes. Making a wrong decision now will cost you down the line through employee turnover, lack of efficiency and poor productivity.
All-in-all, it’s not that tricky. These three simple actions will go a long way to increasing the success of your company. For more information, get in touch with us today and we will do our best to send you in the right direction.
According to recent data from the employment screening industry, the economy is on the recovery. Increases in drug tests across the country imply that employers are most definitely starting to bring in new staff.
“Employers are beginning to hire again,” said Gordon Basichis, Co-Founder of the Corra Group. “[Employment screening businesses] are seeing increased orders as well as inquiries from new or prospective clients who…are up and running and wishing to streamline their employment screening process.”
“We are seeing more requests for drug tests” said Basichis. “Even with companies where drug tests are not required for industry standards or compliance purposes,” employers are making sure their job candidates are clean and sober.
“In healthcare, the defense industry, or in trucking and transportation, you could expect that drug tests would be added to the screening package. But now even retailers and manufacturers are requesting drug tests for their employment candidates.”
Our post last month showed how employment, particularly in the private sector, is on the rise. This increase marked the twenty-fifth consecutive monthly gain in private employment, as measured by the ADP report.
Following the previous report, which stated that almost a quarter of a million jobs had been added to the US economy, this is another step in the right direction. Background screening directly correlates to levels of employment and, according to recent information, things are looking up.
We will likely get a better vision of how the next year or so looks by the end of Q2 2012, but for the time being, the outlook seems to be positive – for employers, for applicants and for the economy.
Welfare drug testing is nothing new. It has been causing debate for a while now, as we see drug testing for welfare recipients legislation being introduced in states across the country. Florida has certainly been one of the key states in this debate.
The debate has taken another turn, as Rep. Paige Kreegel claimed last week that about 800 refused to take the welfare drug test in Florida, and the assumption should be that ”a person would (only) refuse to take a urine drug test because they were afraid of being caught with drugs”.
How valid is this number?
While only 83 failed the drug test, if you include the 800 or so that refused to take the test, then “all together there’s 1,000 people out there on drugs. Nine out of ten of them are smart enough not to take the drug test”, according to Kreegel.
The drug test is the final requirement to receive temporary cash assistance, or TANF as it’s called, after the agency verifies an applicant’s income, background, child support and ID. Applicants pay an average of $35 for the test up front and are reimbursed by the state if they pass.
Although sources are not sure where Kreegel learned that 80 or so people failed the test, or that 800 or so people declined to take it, though he said it was from a newspaper story. Several stories were found that measured the requirement’s effectiveness throughout its tenure, but they didn’t use those numbers.
Kreegel’s figure of about 80 failed tests is not far from the tally over four months of practice, according to the Department of Children and Families, which administers the TANF program. He actually underestimated it.
Of the 4,086 applicants who scheduled drug tests, 108 people failed their tests, a fail rate of 2.6 percent, according to DCF. About 1 percent of applicants, or 42, scheduled tests but canceled them.
About 96.3 percent of applicants passed the screenings. The high pass rate means the state paid out more than $100,000 in reimbursements to applicants who passed over the four-month period.
Aside from the obvious, why would people refuse the drug test?
“There is no way to determine why someone did not take the test,” said Joe Follick, DCF spokesman. “We did not have the capacity or legal authority to survey each applicant’s decision-making process.”
They might not have enough money to pay for the tests up front and wait for state reimbursement. They might find a job in the meantime and not need benefits. They might leave the state for work or for personal reasons. They might qualify for other benefits that make them ineligible for the program. They might be unable to find a nearby testing center.
As you can see, there are various other reasons people may wish to not take a drug test. However, this doesn’t deter supporters of the legislation. What do you think? Should welfare recipients be drug tested?
Under the payroll tax deal sought by congressional negotiators, drug screening for those on welfare would see a significant increase. States would be permitted to screen claimants who lost their jobs because they failed or refused a drug test and people seeking new jobs that generally require drug tests.
According to a 2006 survey cited by Republicans, 84 percent of employers required new hires to pass a drug test. Federal law currently does not allow states to deny benefits for reasons other than misconduct, fraud or disqualifying earnings – so this move is a significant one.
I’m glad that it’s in there,” Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) told HuffPost in an interview. Kingston was the first Republican in Congress last year to propose drug testing for those collecting unemployment. “I think that it will be a helpful tool for states.”
The drug screening proposal is part of a larger bill, in which the maximum duration of unemployment insurance would gradually fall from 99 weeks to 73 weeks. While that does seem like quite a drop, if no bill was passed the the longest time people could claim benefits would abruptly drop to 26 weeks at the end of February when federal unemployment programs are set to expire.
This could affect nearly 1 million people who have been out of work for six months or longer.
The drug screening legislation will no doubt be a welcome addition for many, who are justified in claiming that welfare recipients should not be an exception to the drug screening rules that many employed taxpayers are subjected to.
Nonetheless, there will always be critics. Particularly when it comes to such a controversial topic. Critics claim that drug testing welfare recipients is simply not a cost-effective measure and not a valid use of taxpayers dollars – with money saved being only a fraction of that which is spent on the tests.
What do you think? Should welfare recipients be drug tested?
Tennessee state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he wants to press ahead with legislation “to make sure that we’re drug testing practically everyone getting any kind of government benefits.” This means that Tennessee joins a long list of states who have/are planning to implement drug testing for welfare recipients.
But it doesn’t stop there.
He also said tentatively that it’s “fine with me” if corporate executives whose businesses are awarded millions of dollars in state taxpayer cash as incentives to create jobs in Tennessee are subjected to the same drug tests as the recipients of welfare and food stamps that he wants tested.
A “class-less” stance which certainly seems more fair at first glance – but we are yet to see the public response. One would certainly think that taxpayers would appreciate the regulation of where their tax dollars go but, considering the criticism that a lot of similar legislation in other states has received, we can expect much of the same.
“We will have some legislation ready to go on that. I can’t tell you exactly what it’s going to be right now but it will deal with making sure that when people apply for unemployment compensation that they’re supposed to get it, and second of all, I still want to make sure that we’re drug testing practically everyone getting any kind of government benefits,” Ramsey said.
Workers who are fired from their jobs for cause, rather than being laid off for economic reasons, are ineligible for unemployment pay, but Ramsey told reporters Dec. 15 that he believes that “nine times out of 10,” ineligible individuals are approved for jobless pay anyway. When pressed for evidence, he said he wasn’t sure it was nine out of 10 but added, “I will say a majority of the time.”
However, as is the case with other legislation, there is a question over how constitutional drug testing in this manner really is. Gov. Bill Haslam is not sold on the concept of drug testing recipients on state assistance, for largely this reason. He also questions whether it is cost-effective in the long run.
What are your thoughts of drug testing for those who receive government benefits? Are you seeing similar legislation in your state?
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin unveiled his legislative agenda last week by asking for mandatory drug testing of workers who try to enroll in taxpayer-funded job training programs.
Drug testing in the workplace should be a priority for any business owner, as it contributes to a more productive and efficient work environment. The Department of Labor suggests that “Seventy-three percent of all current drug users aged 18 and older (8.3 million adults) are employed. This includes 6.7 million full-time workers and 1.6 million part-time workers.” Surely reason enough to implement drug testing in many situations, both in the workplace and in job training?
State of the State address
Democrat Tomblin’s annual State of the State address marked the beginning of the 60-day legislative session. In his speech, Tomblin said taxpayer-funded job training programs would now require drug tests before people could enroll in them. Tomblin said he had learned that “far too often” graduates of the state and federal job training programs do not get jobs because they cannot pass a drug test.
“When this happens, we have lost valuable education dollars, we have lost a productive member of our community, and we have lost the opportunity to strengthen our economy,” Tomblin said. ”I will therefore require that individuals pass a drug screening prior to enrolling in our state’s taxpayer-funded workforce training programs.”
He went on the conclude by saying that “As leaders of this state, we need to understand that our mission is to create a business climate that fosters job development. It is our responsibility to have the discipline, the know-how, the determination and most importantly, the pride, to take steps that will unleash the engines of our economic future.”
Welfare drug testing has been a hot topic of debate in many states for the last year or so, and drug screening for those in taxpayer funded industries is not far behind.
What do you think about drug screening in these circumstances?
As another year comes to an end, it’s time again for reflection. 2011 was the first full year of the Mind Your Business blog, so what better way to look back at the last twelve months than to pick out our top 12 blog posts?
So with a post for each month, here are our top posts of 2011:
January: One of our earliest posts in 2011 discussed how several states were considering introducing drug tests for those on welfare. What a massive topic of debate this has turned out to be over the last year:
February: This month saw our five-post explanation of NAPBS, and the relationship we have with them:
March: Founder and CEO of Mind Your Business Karen Caruso was selected as 2011 North Carolina Small Business Person of the Year. A fantastic source of pride and achievement for both Karen and MYB:
April: An explanation of why, and how, employers will check references as part of the pre-employment screening process:
May: Have you ever considered as to why drug testing is so important in the workplace? Find out in a excellent post we published back in May:
June: Taking a look at why background checks are performed, and what it is that employers are really looking for:
July: When you hear “background checks”, what type of check comes to mind? There are many different types of background check, and July saw a great post explaining all about them:
August: We discussed what it is that makes a women-owned small business extraordinary:
September: Mind Your Business entered into the world of social media, and created a Facebook fan page. Three months on, and we can also be found on Twitter and LinkedIn:
October: Karen Caruso had the honor to meet Barack Obama in October, as the President started a bus tour promoting his jobs bill with a visit to Asheville:
November: We delved into the history books for this one, coming up with a blog post on the history of drug testing and how it has progressed over the last few generations:
December: As we headed towards Christmas, we published a post with some great advice on how to protect yourself and your business over the holiday period:
* * * * *
This is our top list, but what about you? Which was your favorite blog post over the past 12 months?
In what is one of the most concerning news stories this year, for us and for all parents too no doubt, fox10tv revealed that teens in Alabama are drinking bleach in an attempt to pass drug tests. The effects of drinking bleach can, of course, be deadly, so it is shocking to hear that teenagers are considering this a viable option for trying to stay out of trouble.
“As far as kids go, if they fail a drug test, they get kicked off the team. A probationer – over at the probation office – they go back to jail. An employee, if they fail a drug test they may lose their job,” said Mahoney.
While there are many apparent techniques to passing a drug test – a quick search in your browser will bring up a plethora of results – it is some incidents recently that are a real cause for concern.
“We have had cases where they have ingested straight bleach, and it caused significant damage to their body,” said Mahoney. Household bleach strips chemicals and odors from surfaces and fabrics, so you can only imagine what it does when consumed. ”It can eat away at your esophagus and enough of it can cause death,” said Mahoney.
“There is more emphasis on drug testing in school, especially with sporting events and things like that, but there should be education to these Juveniles. You need to say ‘Yes, we are going to drug test and don’t try to mask it because if you do, you’re going to harm your body and this is what can happen,’” said Mahoney.
Mahoney said wreaking havoc on your insides is all bleach will do. Drug tests have gotten sophisticated and can determine the presence of foreign chemicals. ”Specific gravity tests will let us know the urine is not just pure urine coming from the body or if these other compounds are present or if there is a tremendous amount of water in the system where they’ve tried to flush the system”.
Mahoney makes a very good point – it’s about educating individuals on why tests are being performed and the negative effects drug abuse can have. Trying to falsify drug test results is not only a waste of effort, but can also have deadly consequences.
If you see someone drinking bleach, call poison control immediately or take them to the hospital. There is one way to pass a drug test: steer clear of illegal substances.
It’s our aim with this blog to keep our readers engaged with interesting content. While that usually consists of important news and updates in the employment screening world, from time to time we like to get creative!
So today we thought we’d bring you something a little different, and provide an interesting look into how drug testing has become such a significant part of pre-employment screening. Check out some interesting information below on the history of drug testing – where it came from, what it’s all about and how it became so important to businesses…
Interestingly, the chemical and scientific capabilities that now allow us to determine drug use came to the fore back in World War II. This great resource tells us:
“Back in World War II, physics and chemistry became big business when building bombs and causing destruction became billion dollar commodities. Research on the atom led scientists to (be able to start) positively identifying specific molecules as components of different mysterious chemicals”.
However, “at first, the War Department didn’t think about applying this new science to humans. Only a small group of physicians saw the potential for forensic applications and diagnostic needs…the equipment was expensive and limited to specialized hospitals and research facilities. For many years, this new technology lay dormant”.
Such science was investigated for human use in the US during the Vietnam War, as “the Defense Department was afraid the widespread heroin use among soldiers fighting in Vietnam would explode in the States when the troops returned. Something had to be done, and the solution lay in finding methods of screening soldiers for heroin addiction”.
Drug testing in the workplace really started coming into play in the 1980′s, as part of an effort to combat the “War on Drugs” that was instituted by the Reagan administration. Prior to that, there was no standard for drug testing in the workplace, school or even in sports.” By this stage, according to testcounty.org, “many companies, particularly those that were involved in industries where workers under the influence of an illegal substance could harm others, began testing for drugs.”
Where are we today?
Now, drug testing is an integral part of many companies and industries. With drug abuse in the workplace costing businesses an estimated $100 billion a year in America – employers have realized just how important drug testing can be as a way to protect their business.
There are many different types of drug testing, which allow employers to ensure their workforce remains productive and – ultimately – allow their business remains profitable.
If you would like further information on drug testing, and how you can help implement it your place of work, reach out to Mind Your Business today. We’d be happy to hear from you!
This year has been a significant one for drug testing – in particular, drug testing for welfare recipients. One state in which this really sparked controversy was Florida, with Rick Scott implementing it in May only for others to be calling for the law to be repealed a couple of months later. In what has surely been one of the most controversial years for the welfare system, where do we stand now as we head towards 2012?
Currently, 36 states have implemented welfare drug testing – a huge leap since Michigan proposed the idea only 10 years ago. “You have to fight the scourge (of drug abuse) somehow,” said state Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, the House sponsor of Tennessee’s drug testing bill. “If people are getting taxpayer money, the taxpayers have a right to know who that money is going to.”
Critics see these drug testing bills as an unfair slight on a struggling population. Note that when Florida instituted mandatory drug tests this year, all but 0.4% of new welfare applicants and 2% of current welfare recipients tested clean. While this may have saved the state a little money in the grand scheme of things, it certainly undermined Scott’s claim that a significant number of welfare recipients were drug users.
In Tennessee, the fiscal note attached to Dunn’s bill estimates that it would cost $2.3 million a year to test a quarter of the adults receiving aid this year, then $3.8 million to test another 25 percent the following year, and $2.4 million to continue testing part of the welfare population every year thereafter. “We want to punish drug users, not taxpayers,” Dunn said.
The trouble is, the worse the economy gets, the more people need social services. But the worse the economy gets, the less money is available to them.
What for 2012?
With federal and state budgets getting ever tighter, there is increasing pressure to conclude as to whether drug testing of welfare recipients is a cost-effective measure. Ultimately, does it save the taxpayer money?
In theory, it should. And in practice it is hard to imagine these bills failing. Taxpayers should not be passing over their hard earned cash to individuals who are using it for drugs. Whether or not supporters of the bills can achieve this before the critics have built a strong enough case for repeal, time will only tell.
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