The company I'm currently working for is asking for all team leads - which includes me - to break some policy changes for our teams.
Our boss wants to introduce a new policy for surprise drug testing. From time to time, when she feels like, she will order a few employees to be tested for drugs. People that test positive will be fired unless they can produce evidence of medical need for those drugs.
This week, the Summer Break for several universities hit its end, and a lot of people are going back to their classes. This creates a scenario extremely lucrative for drug dealers and similar types, which use this back-to-class period to introduce drugs for a batch of potential new users.
Our job is relatively sensitive and deals with a lot of numbers. Being actively under the influence may cause mistakes that can cost a lot of money or, sometimes, lives.
The other team leads and I are discussing a way to present this new policy to our subordinates. Our idea is to call everyone to a single place, probably our parking lot, and break the news at once to everyone using few words and being the most direct possible. A couple of colleagues are worried that this may cause unrest, however.
We would just be doing the regular tests to check for recent usage. Everyone, including the CEO and the managers, will be subjected to it.
The drug test will include both a blood test and a urine test.
Also, we already got legal and union approval to do this type of tests. This is not something done out of the blue - while most employees know nothing about it, it's something that's been on our blackboard for quite some time.
What is the best way to break the news of that mandatory, periodic surprise drug-testing is becoming a part of our policy, without creating employee unrest?
Thanks for all the input!
My CEO spent the night with me and the other team leads and managers discussing this up to 4am over Skype. She read everything you guys wrote here and took the comments very seriously.
She was a bit surprised by some negative reactions, and after some thought she decided to change the policy to something way less aggressive. Instead of punishing drug users using drug tests as a tool, she will create a drug-free campaign that will be opt-in and will give benefits for those that sign up for it.
The mechanics will be a bit different, including a test with a random date each quarter with the possibility of a second, surprise test on the same period. Each quarter that the person comes out clean will give them a stacking 3% bonus on their monthly pay, up to a limit of 15%. Getting a positive for illicit drugs (or licit ones that the employee doesn't have the prescription for) removes the bonus, but it starts stacking up once again on the next quarter.
Just signing up for the program will also grant a small bonus each month to be spent on food and snacks.
The program will also include a extra PTO day for the employee for each test undertaken.
We believe that offering some bonuses like that may actually hype the people for the program, instead of making them resent it. We will study it a bit more, but this is the draft we came out with last night.
Again, thanks for all the input!