Employees are the most valuable assets of any organization as their skill and efficiency determines the pace and the success of a business. The Harvard Business Review recognizes that the skills and talents of an organization’s workforce are worth more than any of the company’s assets. Consequently, the human resource team serves as the most trusted advisor for all organizations, offering guidance on hiring the most suitable candidates with the right personality and skill sets.

Background checks are a crucial component of the hiring process as they enable the HR team to verify the candidates’ past records, eliminating the potential risks and achieving operational excellence. In fact, with the increasing incidence of drug abuse in Europe, drug testing is becoming an integral part of the hiring process, enabling human resource professionals to recruit the best, the most talented, and drug-free individuals.

The annual European Drugs Report published by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction revealed that the United Kingdom has the highest rate of drug abuse in Europe. As a result, maintaining a drug-free workplace and ensuring the safety of its employees are the topmost priorities for all organizations. Drug screening programs help HR professionals maintain a safe, healthy, and productive environment at work by keeping a check on the incidence of drug-abuse-related absenteeism, accidents, and crimes.


Here are four ways in which drug testing forms a crucial aspect of the background screening process when HR professionals shortlist the most suitable candidates for the organization.

1. Reduces the Incidence of Bad Hiring

The cost of bad hiring can be astronomical for an organization, making it crucial for the human resources team to conduct an appropriate background check before hiring the candidates. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shares that the cost of hiring a new employee can be as high as $240 thousand. Thus, if the recruited candidate turns out to be a substance abuser the organization has to bear extra costs in order to maintain the damage caused and replace the bad hire.

Incorporating drug screening programs in the background screening process can help HR professionals reduce the risk of bad hiring, enabling them to optimize the organization’s costs of recruiting candidates. Blood drug test, sweat drug screening, saliva drug test, urine drug test, and hair drug test are a few tests that can be easily included in the job applicants’ background screening process in order to identify the drug abusers.

Additionally, if an organization fails to screen the candidates for drug abuse, it may attract negligent hiring litigation where the employer is found negligent and held responsible for the injuries caused by the substance abuser to other employees or customers. Drug testing helps firms identify the potential as well as the functional drug abusers, reducing the risk of negligent hiring liability and saving the business millions of dollars that could be lost in court cases.

2. Improves Workplace Safety and Productivity

Drugs and alcohol consumption often leads to poor concentration, errors in judgement, and carelessness. Moreover, employees abusing drugs tend to hop between jobs, proving to be a waste of time and money for organizations that hire and train them. Thus, drug abuse has a profound negative effect on the productivity and safety of a workplace, increasing the incidence of absenteeism, injuries, accidents, and crime at the workplace and the ensuing healthcare costs.

By including pre-employment drug screening in the background tests, HR professionals can weed out the candidates who are a threat to the workplace safety. Several studies have shown that drug testing the potential candidates before hiring them can help reduce the prevalence of substance abuse at the workplace, improving employee attendance and productivity.

3. Helps Organizations Adhere to the Regulations

The local government legislation in several countries mandates organizations to drug test potential candidates before recruiting them. This is especially true for specific industries, namely transportation, healthcare, and education. Failure to comply with the regulations may attract heavy penalties and harm the organization’s reputation. Moreover, employers are likely to face legal actions in case of drug-related workplace accidents and injuries.

Adhering to the local as well as the federal drug testing laws helps organizations minimize legal liabilities and fines while creating a drug-free workplace. Thus, when hiring the potential candidates the HR team must include drug testing in the background screening process.

4. Builds Positive and Drug-Free Work Culture

The human resource team is responsible for finding and retaining the right talent, helping organizations shape their future. Thus, the HR department plays a critical role in driving a high-performance corporate culture, a key factor that determines the long-term business success.

In a workplace, the harmful effects of substance abuse can extend to the well-being and safety of the co-workers, the vendors, and the customers.

With a concrete drug testing policy in place, the HR team can reduce the risk of hiring functional and potential drug abusers, reducing the incidence of substance abuse and creating a safe and healthy environment for all the employees. Drug testing programs support various other initiatives that can prevent drug abuse at work, namely interventions, confidential screening, counselling, rehabilitation, and other drug-abuse management programs. Further, a drug-free workplace promotes a positive workplace culture, professionalism, and employee productivity.

Background screening helps the HR team recruit the most suitable candidates for the job, boosting the overall productivity of the organization. The increasing incidence of drug abuse at work makes it important for the human resource professionals to include drug testing as a part of the hiring process, reducing the incidence of workplace accidents and crimes and creating a safe workplace for all. This article will help you appreciate how drug testing helps hirers select talented and drug-free candidates, promoting a healthy work environment.

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