As my own businesses grow I have learned that managing your staff like a community is the biggest factor in keeping a business running smoothly. All employees need to be happy and fulfilled, and a single disruptive influence can affect everyone.

Employees can change from productive and happy to morose and ineffective due a wide variety of circumstances, many unpredictable. One common situation that is often avoidable from an HR standpoint is illegal drug use. In 2013 9.4% of Americans reported using an illegal drug in the past month, and illegal drug use is estimated to cost businesses $81 billion every year.

Most businesses already have policies for random drug testing and pre-employment testing in place, but procedures are often never reviewed after they are in place and employee training loses some depth as it is passed from one person to another over time.

Here are some tips to help make sure your drug testing program isn’t suffering from negligence.

Document Procedures and Strictly Adhere to Them
Every company should have sections regarding maintaining the chain of custody, identifying applicants that may be attempting to tamper with the test, and making determinations about which samples need to be confirmed by a laboratory in their employee handbook.

Just by having a testing program that has strict quality control you will keep many drug abusers from subjecting themselves to the interview process in the first place. Any applicant that successfully tampers with your test results will share that with their friends and it will quickly become known that your drug policy isn’t that serious.

Make Sure Your Tests are Certified
In the United States a CLIA waiver is issued by the Department of Health and Human Services and indicates that the drug test is simple enough for an average employee to use and achieve accurate results.

If an employee has a specimen collector certification and the testing is outsourced to a lab you can use tests that are not CLIA waived, but there is usually no additional cost to get a CLIA waived test.

We have found cases where the proper standards were put in place but were overlooked when an employee sourced new tests that were cheaper without confirming that they met the minimum requirements for onsite pre-employment testing. Some industries, particularly those that work under the authority of the Department of Transportation will have requirements for supervisors to make reasonable suspicion determinations which require training.

For most businesses using a CLIA waived 12 panel drug test cup and observing best practices is sufficient for having a viable pre-employment testing program.

Observe Specimen Collection
It’s a dirty job, but someone really needs to do it. Most tampering will come in the form of applicants substituting a clean sample for their own urine during specimen collection. The temperature strip on most cups is there to help identify this adulteration, but it is easy to keep urine at body temperature. You can use a mirror in a designated collection restroom stall to make it more comfortable for everyone involved.

Be sure to confirm that the applicant is not using a prosthetic or small bottle to subvert observation. Always have the applicant sign a waiver that acknowledges that they will be submitting an observed urine specimen; if it is a surprise that the testing is observed it could be brought up as a violation of their privacy in the future.

Always Send Positive Tests to a Lab
By qualifying employees during the interview process with point of care drug testing your company saves thousands every year for the employees that are drug free, but it is important to have positive tests sent to a lab for confirmation. These are the tests that could be subject to legal scrutiny, and as an ethical manager you really want to know the truth if there is a false positive.

Objectively Review Procedures and Requirements Regularly
A few years ago most organizations held to a zero tolerance drug use policy and would only issue random tests when a workplace incident reminded management that drug use could be an issue.

With several states legalizing marijuana it may be in your company’s interest to view THC differently if you have an office in such a state. In Colorado 15.5% of adults now use marijuana recreationally and zero tolerance policies have affected some businesses ability to recruit top talent when the employment market was very competitive.

On the other hand a local surge in methamphetamine use could be a good reason to proactively increase the number of random drug tests your program performs.

Many companies outsource employment related drug testing, but in most cases you can save a lot of money and maintain a higher degree of quality by instituting your own testing program. A strict anti-drug culture is usually best for most organizations, and your drug testing program can reduce workplace injuries, improve production and efficiency, and proactively address workplace issues that you wouldn’t even expect.

Author's Bio: 

Adam Justice is the President of Thunderbolthost, an Internet marketing and web development firm as well as the C.O.O. of a large medical supply company Best Value Medical.