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Thinking of changing your drug testing policy? Take this 2-step assessment (2 of 3)

Written by: Rikka Brandon
Published on: Jul 24, 2017

Drug Test

Assess Your Drug Testing Policy in Two Steps

If you grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, you probably saw “Reefer Madness” in school. A child of the 80’s - you knew the D.A.R.E. program like the back of your hand. We’ve all been exposed to statistics about drug use and its negative effects as well as data about drug-free work environments. Typically safer with better productivity, drug-free job sites can also see higher profitability; however, it can also mean the loss of great employees, especially considering the changing legal landscape regarding marijuana.

You may be wondering if your drug testing policy and drug-free stance are netting the ROI you imagined. To help, I devised a short assessment to determine if it’s worth adjusting your drug testing policy.

If you receive federal funds or employ certain safety-sensitive roles, you may have restrictions on your drug testing policy. Obtain legal counsel before making adjustments so you don’t spend time and money on a fool’s errand.


2-Step Drug Testing Program Assessment

How beneficial is your current testing program?

If you’ve tracked anything related to drug testing, great! I don’t suspect most organizations track much beyond who has been tested and the results, so let’s start with the basics.

Since your program started, what improvements can you track in your organization? A few areas to consider or gather data on are:

  • Workers Comp claims
  • OSHA violations
  • Accident rates and severity
  • Productivity
  • General workplace ambiance
  • Employee longevity
  • Quality of employees, candidates, and hires


Obviously, changes to these areas are not exclusively due to your testing policies. So, you will have to evaluate the amount of influence drug testing has played.

What does your current policy cost?

It’s always a bit easier to get numbers and information regarding costs. Gather and evaluate information related your company’s tangible and intangible costs for drug testing.

Tangible or known costs

  • Annual drug testing expenses compiled from all vendors
    • Candidate testing
    • Random testing for suspected use
    • Expenses for training, education, misc.
  • Time and administration expenses
    • Administration wages and time used to enforce the policy
    • Lost work time for employee testing
    • Miscellaneous program costs (tracking, software, etc.)


Intangible or lost opportunities

  • Employees who leave for more lenient companies
  • Employees who fail drug tests
  • Candidates who don’t apply or pull themselves out of consideration
  • Unfilled openings and additional costs you can attribute to drug testing



Note - nothing I’ve listed in this assessment is exhaustive and may not apply to your company or industry.

Take what you gather and weigh the costs against what you’ve potentially gained. As you analyze your ROI, your next move will hopefully become a bit clearer. Using data and the reality of your business, make a decision to best your needs, organization and culture. If your current policy makes sense, you now have the data to back up your decision. If the ROI doesn’t support continuing, figure out the next steps for a policy revamp. As always, talk with your legal counsel to make sure you meet all compliance, federal, state and local laws.

If you are ready to make adjustments, find some steps to take here.


Rikka Brandon is the author of the best-selling book Hire Power: Everything Entrepreneurs Need To Know To Hire Awesome People. She’s the creator of the Hire Power Program, an online program designed to help small businesses build a rock-solid recruiting strategy and stop settling when they hire. She’s the Founder of and  Building Gurus. Rikka is the go-to girl for growth-minded entrepreneurs and forward-thinking business leaders and is considered as the USA’s Top Hiring Expert for Small Businesses.