Workplace drug and alcohol testing is central to the wellness, safety, and productivity of any organization. Yet, for small businesses that are run by a small and frequently multi-tasking workforce, often on razor-thin margins, it’s even more important. Knowing this, top-performing small businesses view pre-employment drug testing as vital to their hiring process, worth every bit of time and money spent.
Why Small Business Drug Testing is a Smart Investment
If you’re operating a small firm, take note of these three key reasons why drug testing is mission-critical in hiring.
Your employees are the face of your business
In most cases, you can’t run a small business without the support of employees. Ultimately, your people are more important than the product or service you sell. Employees make things happen and keep business moving. Put simply, they are the face and the heart of your small company.
Because of this reality, you need to be confident they’re representing your company in the best possible way and not degrading it with negative or risky behavior, apathetic service or substandard performance due to drug use. This can be the result of on-the-job drug and alcohol use, or the residual effects of off-the-clock substance abuse. Think: hangovers, tardiness and absenteeism—all of which can lead to low morale and decreased productivity.
Further, research shows that workers with substance abuse issues miss two additional weeks of work annually1 compared to other workers, totaling an average of nearly five weeks of missed work. Building a clearly defined drug testing policy will make expectations clear and help avoid these problematic situations.
The ROI of small business drug testing is a no-brainer
There’s a standard drug and alcohol testing industry argument for workplace testing associated with return on investment (ROI) and the cost of replacing a non-productive worker caused by drug abuse.
According to the National Safety Council, higher-paid employees such as managers and finance workers with untreated substance abuse disorders cost their employer more than $14,000 a year2 because of the greater likelihood they’ll leave the job within the year. Further, it costs employers roughly 33% of an employee’s salary3 to replace that worker if they leave the job. This cost can include the time, money, and resources spent advertising the position, interviewing and screening applicants, and training new employees.
Knowing in advance when an applicant has a potential substance abuse issue, you can make better informed hiring decisions and reduce the likelihood of hiring applicants who may leave shortly after coming aboard, or need to be replaced due to a substance abuse disorder. What’s more, you can perform virtual drug screening with results that enable same-day hiring* — plus, no time is lost waiting for lab-based results.
The looming legal risk
As a small business owner, you’re always thinking about risk and ways to sidestep it. A single lawsuit can sink an otherwise thriving small company in legal fees alone—before any monetary settlements, fines, or penalties are assessed.
Drug testing can help by mitigating employee-based risk. In the wake of surging substance abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic, a SHRM study recently revealed a shocking 31% increase in alcohol consumption and a 29% jump in other types of drug use4. It’s become a best practice to drug test all applicants during the hiring process. Adding this step can help lower the potential for tort claims such as negligent hiring and other claims based on the failure to ensure a safe and secure workplace.
Recent drug testing data backs up this thinking. A First Advantage analysis of drug testing activity from 2019 through early 2021 compared post-accident positivity rates for customers who did perform pre-hire drug testing with those who did not. For those who did, their post-accident positivity rate rose 17%. However, the positivity rate doubled for those who did not perform pre-hire drug testing during that same time. The message here is clear: pre-employment drug testing can help mitigate on-the-job substance abuse that leads to increased workplace risk and accidents.
For more information on the latest COVID-19 pandemic-related trends in employment drug testing, check out this recent blog article.
Get Started with First Advantage
At First Advantage, our small business background check and drug testing services are designed with you in mind: easy to sign up and simple to use. To learn more about the advantages of small business drug testing, including how to establish a drug-free workplace program for your small business, visit the Small Business page and get started today.
*Anything other than a negative result will trigger lab-based confirmatory testing