- One of Richmond, Indiana's largest employers is making headlines with its new recruiting initiative: offering both a job and drug treatment to applicants who fail an initial drug screen. The idea came after Belden Inc., a wire and cable manufacturer, saw its drug test failure rates triple during the past two year, NPR reports.
- To date, 17 people have applied for the program, which includes treatment for one to four months, depending on the severity of the addiction. When they complete the program, they’re guaranteed a job. Three have completed and begun working, according to NPR.
- "If we did the same things as we did in the past, we weren't going to be successful in hiring the folks we needed," Doug Brenneke, Belden's vice president of research and development, told NPR.
The program is said to be the first of its kind and is a potentially life-changing response to both the challenge of finding qualified employees and the devastating drug problem workers and communities are facing. As more employers see staff and applicants dealing with addiction, businesses must come up with creative solutions to maintain productivity.
But it's not just the opioid crisis that has employers rethinking their policies. Changing marijuana use laws are shifting the way employers recruit in many industries. Some are beginning to abandon tests for marijuana, specifically, as legalization sweeps across myriad states, while others are adjusting their drug policies to better reflect the current atmosphere. Currently, zero-tolerance policies for workplace use (including marijuana) are still acceptable in most places, James Reidy, attorney at Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green PA, said during a Society for Human Resource Management conference earlier this year. But increasingly, the pressure to recruit and retain individuals is pushing HR departments to relax these policies.
A recent report suggests 60% of employers in the U.S. have been affected by at least one instance of opioid abuse in their workforce. New recommendations, including partnering with pharmacy benefit managers to keep a keen eye on prescription use and potential abuse, are being issued to help employers stay ahead of this growing problem.