Workplace Drug Testing – Part 2

Sam Carpenter Answering Service White Papers

Part 2 of a 2 Part Series

In Part 1 of this series on employee drug testing, I suggested that a manager/business owner should ask this question: Notwithstanding all the positive attributes that contribute toward the success of my enterprise, am I sabotaging myself elsewhere?

So, without sounding like a public service announcement, drug abuse is a huge problem everywhere. An enormous percentage of the work force ingests mood-altering substances and virtually all of these substances fog the thought process. We always go back to the raw mechanics and that means a business is a system of systems, and in the strictest mechanical sense – and at the risk of political incorrectness and/or dehumanizing – the people who operate the business are systems, too. Marijuana, amphetamines, barbiturates, opiates etc. inhibit the thinking process of people-systems, and an inhibited thinking process is not an efficient thinking process.

If the goal is high efficiency, a great product or service, and enough profitability to take good care of employees and stock holders – and if people are the center of the business endeavor, which of course they are – why wouldn’t management seek out employees who have clear heads? I believe this question has a number of answers:

  • Management is in denial of the reality of a drug problem within the culture and therefore within the business. This is a matter of management not paying attention
  • Management has some kind of politically-correct notion that what someone ingests into their body is a human right and therefore any questions about this are an invasion of privacy. Maybe it is a human right but management has the human right to not have to hire drug users.
  • By performing drug tests on the entire staff, management is afraid of the loss of a major portion of that staff because of multiple positive test results. They are concerned that there will be no one to do the work the day after the drug testing. There is a good chance this is true.
  • Probably this is the most prevalent reason: Management isn’t seeing the business entity as a collection of linear operating systems and therefore has not taken the entity apart piece by piece to analyze the components, the most important of which are the people-systems who operate the enterprise.

Whatever the reasoning or non-reasoning, here’s the mechanical fact: If the primary system is to operate at peak efficiency, all sub-systems of that primary system must operate at peak efficiency. For too many businesses it is an incredible oversight to neglect and ignore the efficiency of the most important business sub-systems that exist: the people who do the work.

The people who work at Centratel can think. Do they drag bad moods and problems to work? Of course they do, but they deal with their problems quietly, straight-up and with backbone. They deal with it. My partner and I have enormous respect for our employees, not just for the near flawless work they do, but because they have elected to march through life unadulterated and unafraid. They do what they have to do for themselves and, no question, this is a very good thing for Centratel. Forgive the worn out parlance, but it’s a win-win.

With a big emphasis on monthly bonuses for personal performance, we pay our excellent employees very well and so they get very good at what they do and they stay a long time.

Here are the bare essentials of how we manage drug testing at Centratel:

  • When we advertise for a position on the internet, it is stated plainly that drug testing will be done. From our internet job posting: “…an initial drug screening test and subsequent random tests are given. If you use illegal drugs and somehow get through initial testing, your tenure with Centratel will be short as we drug test frequently and unannounced.
  • We use an in-house saliva test. It’s about $11.00 per test
  • We do unannounced tests on select groups, three to six times per year. The groups? It could be everyone in the office, those who started work within the last 90 days, those with names within a certain alphabetical order, etc.
  • If someone tests positive, we verify the positive test with a second urinalysis screening at a local urgent care facility. If that test comes back positive there is no recourse: the individual loses his or her job. For the employee, the risk/reward ratio is not favorable and the end-result is that we seldom get a positive drug screening.

There’s much more, of course, but the over-arching thought process that led us to drug testing is the simple-mechanics perspective of the Work the System methodology. We see everything as a system, including the overall business….and this obviously includes the thinking process of each of our employees.

Know this: There are LOTS of terrific people out there who, in exchange for high wages and great working conditions, will work hard, stay clear-headed, be loyal and give 100%.

So, the secret of our success is in not allowing our best efforts to be sabotaged. By screening out fuzzy-thinkers, we’re left with clear thinking straight-shooters who operate the machinery of the business with super efficiency.

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