Why Carry Out Drug and Alcohol Testing on Prospective Employees?
Recruitment agencies are tasked with finding prospective employees for their clients. They are expected to recruit highly motivated, productive, and diligent employees for their clients, and therefore the need to find the right person for the job is a priority for recruitment agencies who aim for satisfied clients and a positive reputation.
Providing clients with candidates who abuse drugs and alcohol can damage a recruitment agency’s reputation, as well as causing damaging effects for employers who hire them. Pre-employment screening is an effective addition in measuring the suitability of prospective employees, and is far less costly to a recruitment agency than the public image costs associated with damage to their integrity.
Substance abuse in the workplace can affect an employer in many ways including:
Bad Publicity and Loss of Integrity
Workplace incidents involving drugs and alcohol can include incidents that occur between employees, customers, or third party companies, as well as resulting in injury or harm to an individual or a group of individuals. Often the company receives backlash from those involved, or indeed those who witnessed the incident, which can often lead to bad publicity and loss of integrity, causing detrimental effects to a company’s image.
Substance misuse in the workplace can have legal ramifications for an employer. As a legal duty, employers must ensure the safety of all employees at work, and must not knowingly permit the use of controlled substances on their premises. Incidents relating to drugs and alcohol can lead to potential law suits, health insurance claims, or employee tribunals, which can be stressful for those involved and costly to the company.
Employees who misuse drugs and alcohol have decreased work productivity due to the effects of drugs and alcohol on a person’s body and mind. For example, marijuana can lower motivation. In addition there can be a decrease in general staff morale as a result of the employee’s behaviour, therefore resulting in decreased productivity for a company’s workforce. As a result, employee drug and alcohol abuse costs companies thousands of pounds each year.
Increased Staff Turnover and Absenteeism
Employees who abuse drugs and alcohol contribute significantly to staff turnover and absenteeism. In the UK each year alcohol is estimated to cause up to 5% of all absences from work. This equates to a staggering 17 – 18 million lost working days in the UK annually (IAS, 2014). In addition it is estimated that substance abusers change jobs as often as three times each year. Continually replacing employees is costly to a company due to recruiting, hiring and training new staff.
Who Should Be Tested?
All prospective employees should be tested for both drug abuse and alcohol misuse to minimise the effects of substance abuse in the workplace. This is particularly important for applicants applying for safety critical roles.