Yesterday we learned that drug use in the workplace or by workers is at a 12-year high, and we began to explore what recruiters can do with that information.
Is a Drug-Free Workplace Possible?
The short answer is, no. People will always find ways to get around tests and ways to find gaps in your testing. However, you can take steps to reduce offenders to a minimum.
The good news is that employers not covered under the Drug-Free Workplace Act (or a state law mandating such a program) have more freedoms when creating drug-free workplace programs.
Does Drug Testing Really Work?
Yes, drug and alcohol testing works on many levels. Think of it like a locked door. There will always be someone who can find a way through that door. But for 99.9% of people, it is a functional deterrent. Drug tests are the same way; they help keep the vast majority of your workers clean, and that will always be worth it.
However, before implementing a program, be sure to check on your state’s drug testing laws. They differ widely from state to state.
What Else Can We Do?
There is no one “right” way to implement a drug-free workplace. An employer’s program should be designed to meet the particular needs of its workplace. Some of the issues to consider when drafting a workplace plan are listed below.
Employee education. An employee education program will be most effective if it does not sound like a “top-down” mandate from management. It should involve upper- and lower-level management, as well as employees.
Supervisor training. Supervisors can play a key role in an effective drug-free workplace program. Supervisors, more than anyone else in the organization, are in the best position to recognize changes in an employee’s behavior or job performance. Remember that supervisors are not expected to provide substance abuse counseling and should not attempt to diagnose alcohol- or drug-related problems.
EAPs. Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are effective ways to deal with alcohol- and drug-related problems in the workplace. They are usually multifaceted programs designed to assist employees with personal problems that affect their job performance.