Drug Testing

Why should we care about workplace drug testing, and why should we discuss the issue more often?

Because it has an impact on performance and productivity, according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).[i] It seems that many of the arguments put forth by proponents of drug testing in professional sports can also hold true in the mainstream workplace.

First and foremost is the argument that employees are individuals compensated for their performance, so the expectation on the part of corporations is that employees will bring their “A game” every time they report for work, whether it’s on a playing field or behind a desk. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, drug abuse costs American industries over $190 billion annually.[ii] Employee drug abuse causes as much as 50% of all on-the-job accidents and up to 40% of employee theft. In addition, drug abusing employees are absent ten times more frequently than non-users, and the turnover rate for drug-abusing employees is 30% higher than clean employees.

And experts say that effective drug-testing initiatives present opportunities to employers. Beyond compliance with drug-free workplace policies and initiatives, SAMHSA says that testing, as part of a well-run drug free workplace policy, can reap benefits in the forms of increased productivity, profits, customer satisfaction, employee health status and morale. Moreover, workplace drug testing can contribute to lowered incidences of absenteeism, turnover, accidents and injuries and the accompanying downtime, and Workers’ Compensation costs.[iii]

Many employers are already on track: even though most U.S. employers are not required by law to drug-test employees, many companies already have drug-screening policies and almost all of those with a program say that pre-employment testing is the most common type of screening performed.

Most companies that screen employees for drugs do so prior to hire. Some test when there is “reasonable suspicion” of drug use, some test following an employee accident, and others do random testing.

Among companies that do pre-employment drug screening, most require that the test be conducted within four days of the applicant’s acceptance of a position, although others allow it to be done at any time before the new employee’s start date.

For more information about how you can add a drug screening program to your workplace contact Tim Landsberger at 651-644-3880, or email him attal@mcdowellagency.com.

So your applicant has a “Bahcelor’s” degree…

Imagine this:

You’re hiring for a position that requires a certain level of knowledge and experience from your candidates.  You’ve finally narrowed it down to two applicants, and one of them just sent you his diploma, which looks like it was typed this morning in Microsoft Word—and it turns out he can’t even spell “Bachelor.” 1

It’s probably safe to assume this applicant won’t be the best candidate for the position, but it’s also important to know that you’re not alone.  Nearly half of workers in the U.S. know someone who has fudged their previous experience on a resume or application. 2  Worse, your applicant may not even know their diploma is a fake (although we hope this guy wasn’t that clueless).  Many diploma mills present themselves as legitimate, claiming to use “legal loopholes” to get degrees from real institutions based on life experience rather than credits or exams.3

So how can you find out if your other applicant has also been truthful about their credentials?  A criminal background check may not be enough to uncover a false diploma, and verifying a diploma requires time and effort.  To meet this need, the McDowell Agency staffs a department especially for employment and education verifications.  Our verifiers work with trusted databases such as the National Student Clearinghouse, which is used by many institutions to keep enrollment and degree records, as well as The Work Number, which does the same for employment records.  If your applicant’s information isn’t available from these databases, our verifiers reach out directly to institutions and companies to verify records.

Want to leave the verification to the pros? Contact us for more info →

True story.
Such as http://www.college-degree-fast.com/

Drug Testing in the Workplace

1 in 10 employees use illicit drugs. Is your workplace protected?

 Did you know that drug tests can improve your organization’s safety and productivity?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) run by the Department of Health and Human Services, employee drug use could have a huge impact on the number of accidents in your workplace, and can also impact your employees’ morale, productivity, and turnover rates.

Drug use may not be a visible problem in the workplace, but that doesn’t mean it’s uncommon. When studying American workers, SAMHSA found that approximately one in ten reported using illicit drugs in the last 30 days,[i] while Quest analytics found that nearly 5% of American employees who took a urine drug test tested positively for illicit drugs.[ii]

Why is this important? Screening employees and job applicants for drugs can reduce problems in the workplace. Not only does employee drug abuse cause up to 50% of all on-the-job accidents, especially in safety- and security-sensitive industries, it can also cause an increase in company theft.[iii] Drug abuse can also indicate an applicant’s future performance as an employee: drug users are absent ten times more frequently than non-users, and the turnover rate for drug abusers is up to 30% higher than non-users.[iv]

While these statistics may sound scary, protecting your workplace against drug abuse doesn’t have to be difficult, and can be as simple as adding a drug test to your pre-employment screening package. Using McDowell’s online process means you’ll only need one login and password, and you won’t have to worry about keeping track of paper chain-of-custody forms. McDowell also partners with labs nationwide, so your applicants can be tested almost anywhere in the U.S.

In addition to pre-employment drug screening, the McDowell Agency provides options for employers such as random drug screening, DOT screening, and pre-employment physicals. Would your organization benefit from any of these? Email us for more info →

Want to learn more about making your organization a drug-free workplace?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides drug abuse statistics and tips on creating a drug-free workplace.

View their toolkit →

Does your applicant have questions about their rights?
Workplace Fairness is a nonprofit organization that provides answers to legal questions about employee drug testing (and other employee concerns).

Read their FAQ →


[i] https://www.samhsa.gov/atod

[ii] http://www.drugwarfacts.org/node/2239#

[iii] https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders

[iv] https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/workplace-kit.pdf

Employee Turnover

It is no secret that employee turnover is incredibly costly. In fact, one study shows that a single worker turnover can cost upwards of $15,000! And that’s just the direct costs.

Can comprehensive background checks reduce turnover?

Absolutely! Background checks help promote a safe working environment and they keep employees honest. They also help increase the quality of the candidates applying.

Q: What are the indirect costs of turnover?

A: There are many, and most come in the form of time. The amount of time it takes to set up and conduct interviews, time to go through candidates, and the amount of time it takes to train a new hire are a few examples. Another major indirect cost is the affect turnover has on morale of the company.

Q: Morale costs? What is that?

A: Because the other employees will have to cover the workload of the employee that left, they will be under greater stress to balance everything until someone new can be hired and trained – this is the major impact of morale costs.

75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable.

Want to see how we can help mitigate employee turnover with a comprehensive background check? Contact us now!

Feel free to give us a call, shoot us an email, send a carrier pigeon, whatever! We will respond and work one-on-one with you to develop a background screening package that fits your needs as well as works to bring in the highest quality candidates to decrease your cost of employee turnover.