Drug Abuse Test Best Practices

Why drug screening of employees at regular intervals is the need of the hour

Mr. Shah, the HR-Head at a start-up, vividly remembers the incident that made him realise he needs regular drug abuse tests for his employees in India. He got a call from one of the managers that an employee needed to be taken to the hospital immediately. One look at the agitated employee who was hesitating from going to the hospital – eyes red and wider than usual, body shaking -and Mr. Shah knew that he was staring at a grave problem. Turned out, a group of employees had gone out and smoked pot during the lunch break. They had all come back to the office and resumed work in the usual fashion except this one who was fidgety as soon as he entered. What was even more shocking is that this wasn’t the first time this group had indulged in such an activity. What started as an adventure became a habit when they realised that they weren’t arousing suspicion. This had continued for months on end and nobody, including the respective reporting managers of the group, had a clue.

Mr. Shah isn’t the first employer challenged by the rising menace of drug abuse test at the workplace. Neither is he the only one who didn’t know what to do and where to start upon coming face-to-face with it. He had read about ‘India’s drug problem’ but he didn’t expect it to creep into his office. To put things in perspective, India’s drug problem has reached alarming levels over the past few years. The recent findings of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India in a report titled Magnitude of Substance Use in India 2019 have been an eye opener in assessing the actual magnitude of drug abuse in the country.

 The report states that about 1.3 crore individuals in India now consume illegal cannabis products whereas the number of people dependent on opioids, including Opium and Heroin, has reached 2.26 crores.

This is a sharp increase from the UN estimate of 2011-2013, placing the number of drug abusers in India at about 1 crore individuals.

Also read:Drug Abuse Test Best Practices

Further, a report by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reveals that drug abuse is most common among youngsters in the 15-35 age group, with a concentration in the 18-25 age bracket. A similar study by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development in the north Indian states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) found that 65% of addicts living in these states became users between 15-20 years, meaning three out of four get addicted even before they turn 21.The fact that a staggering number of the Indian workforce is young and edge near the above age bracket is a cause of deep concern for employers.

While a spike in the consumption of drugs costs heavily to countries in terms of crimes, social disorder and health benefits, the rising numbers are particularly worrisome for employers like Mr. Shah who may have to bear more direct consequences. The association between low productivity, absenteeism, poor decision making and drug abuse are well-established. For instance, In the USA, it has been observed that drug users are absent three times more often than non-drug users, and they are three to four times more likely to be involved in an accident on the job. In addition to impaired judgement, confusion, aggression, frequent drug abusers are also prone to violence at work, leading to a toxic and unsafe work environment for their colleagues. The chance of passing on the habit to colleagues can never really be ruled out either.

In terms of direct costs to business, the United States Department of Labour estimated the drug use in the workplace to cost businesses between $75 billion and $100 billion annually in lost time, accidents and higher healthcare and workers’ compensation cost.The problem is compounded in the case of drug-abusing blue-collar workers who directly face a brand’s customers and expose them to very real risks. The cost of illegal drugs, against common knowledge, is hardly is a deterrent for low-income blue-collar workers as it is now possible to buy drugs like brown sugar or chitta, which is a kind of heroin, in just INR 40 to last a whole day. In addition to reputational, business and revenue losses, the threat of crimes leading to severe injuries and even loss of life looms over employers working with drug-abusing, blue-collar workforce.

Despite these facts, drug screening remains untested waters for most organisations in India for varying reasons. The fear of scaring away talent, categorising drug abuse as ‘personal problem’, misguided belief that it affects only BPOs and IT sector, lack of strategy to deal with identified drug abusers, and most importantly lack of awareness about easy and economical drug screening options remain some of the common reasons.

The good news is that in India BPOs and IT industries have already shown how to prevent drug abuse at workplaces by adoption of drug abuse testing in the hiring process for all employees. The procedure involves a simple urine, hair or blood test to look for traces of a set number of chemicals. Employees can be tested for the presence of any number of common drugs divided across panels. These tests are conducted in modern labs, equipped with the latest technology and trusted for their transparent and efficient processes. Industry experts, like AuthBridge, have tie-ups with these labs that enable them to raise easy requests, get samples, and deliver reports to the client office within a matter of hours. The whole process is confidential and designed within the legal and compliance framework in India.

Having a reliable drug screening partner is also important to be abreast with the need gaps in the process and to continuously address them to enable a safer work environment. At AuthBridge, for example, we have been able to make our clients see the advantages of a recurring or continuous drug screening that addresses concerns like a new joiner already aware of such a drug test policy might be able to protect themselves by abstaining from use for a few days and that current employee can become a drug abuser at any time. A randomized testing plan repeated at regular intervals, thus, can yield far better results in the pursuit of sifting drug-users from the non-drug users.

An experiment by the United States Postal Service reflected that by introducing pre-employment drug testing for new applicants, the Postal Service could reduce absenteeism of drug users to the general level of non-drug users and save about $100 million over a three-year period.three-year period, If similar effects can be generated in India, this alone can become a huge incentive for employers to include regular drug testing to their pre and post-hiring processes. When the drug abuse becomes an economic deterrent, chances of the country’s youth abstaining from it improve manifold. Measures like drug abuse awareness sessions and psychotherapy can further help employers in building and maintaining a safe work environment for all employees.

(Source: Unodc, Vice, Social Justice)

The Changing Face of Indian Innovation A Closer Look with Sandeep Singh

Technology holds all the Aces

Technology today is all pervasive. It is difficult to think of many moments in our day, professional or personal, when technology is not aiding us in accomplishing the things we want. Take cabs. Technology has made finding a cab to reach your destination amazingly simple. For years I have been travelling to various places in the country, especially Mumbai and Bangalore, and until even two years ago finding a taxi was a struggle. For timely attendance of back-to-back business meetings the only option was to hire private taxis.

Not today. All I have to do is pick up my smartphone and book myself a cab in a matter of minutes. It’s easy, convenient and cost effective and it’s technology at work. Or take e-commerce. I confess I used to be a sceptic when it came to making purchases online. No longer. Flipkart, Amazon and

TrustOnDemand™ - The Next Disruption for HR

TrustOnDemand™ – The Next Disruption for HR

Pre-employment background screening has been a time-consuming process traditionally. On an average, about 20 days are needed to verify an employee’s background information.  This long a time duration is critical for employee dropout; organisations that have a high turnover rate find it difficult to carry out pre-employment screening.  This is the reason why 94% of candidates in India are hired without any pre employment screening. TrustOnDemand™ is a revolutionary concept aimed at bridging this Trust deficit. Developed by AuthBridge, this concept is powered by technology for fastening up the process of pre-employment screening using real-time delivery of background verification results.

Why is the role of TrustOnDemand™ critical than ever?

When employers are unable to carry out background verification, issues like identity frauds and resume frauds originate. In fact, 77% of frauds in BFS are related to identity frauds. Around 15% candidates lied on their resume in FY2017 to bag a lucrative job. New business models are emerging that are changing the way we live or do business. The advent of sharing economy also has resulted in fast-growing digital interactions. The need of the hour is TrustOnDemand™, which can provide quick solutions for background verification, ensuring safety in every area of businesses. TrustOnDemand™ is an accurate way of carrying out pre-employment screening of candidates, vendors, employees and visitors to prevent the consequences of such frauds.


Why the sharing economy needs TrustOnDemand™?

The sharing economy has begun to make its mark in India in the last few years. Many startups are leading the sharing economy which has witnessed an investment of 4.8 billion dollars. Multiple such incidents with delivery boys, drivers and the likes have exposed the loopholes in terms of trust deficit in shared economy businesses. Because the companies do not own the drivers or the accommodation owners, the business model is open to breach of trust. With real-time verification solutions, enabled by technology, organizations are now looking at validating identity, profile and reputation of their employees, partners and attachments who represent their brand and influence their financials and market reputation.


Serving Trust-On-Demand through screening candidates

With advanced search algorithms, the use of APIs, and extensive databases, the technology-driven TrustOnDemand™ ensures safety in the shared economy business model. Aadhaar Data can be used to instantaneously check the background of vendors or partners, delivery boys, or apartment owners while eKYC can be used to verify as well as gain more information about individuals – delivering instant background verification on the go. Access to online criminal repositories, online records from government and industry bodies and digital footprints of an individual can be used for analysis and inferences about an individual’s credentials, character and competency. This in turn helps in making informed hiring decisions- without waiting for the background verification process to be completed.


Why will more industrial sectors need TrustOnDemand™?

As per reports from Investopedia, the sharing economy would have a value of anywhere between $250 billion to $2 trillion. The “On-demand” economy is here to stay and grow whether it is in food, travel, or furniture. Partnering with delivery boys, school bus drivers, or other vendors in the rapidly evolving markets will further necessitate TrustOnDemand™ solutions for building trust and securing reputation. With more and more shared economy startups emerging, the traditional background verification methods do not suffice.

These methods take time, are cumbersome, and do not provide accurate data in real time. When startups fail to deliver on their promises of conducting authentic and meticulous background and identity verification of delivery boys, hosts, or drivers, their reputation suffers. Building reputation and trust are critical for businesses in many industries to survive. TrustOnDemand™ will continue to be the need of the future to ensure a safe business environment for business owners and customers alike.

ID Verification amp TrustOnDemand - Accelerating the On-Demand Economy

ID Verification & TrustOnDemand™ – Accelerating the On-Demand Economy

According to an Allied Market Research, the global self-service technology market will cross $31 billion by 2020, representing an annual growth rate of almost 14%. This number is indicative of the importance of service industry today. More than 4.8 billion dollars have been invested in the on-demand industry and well, and researchers say it’s not unrealistic to think this is here to stay. According to Investopedia, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch expects the sharing economy to reach between $250 billion to $2 trillion value. People now, more than ever, have started believing in the idea of synergy. Whether it is on-demand food or clothes, the world has started to depend on the sharing economy a bit too much. However, some new ventures and start-ups have found themselves let down by a constant stream of unfortunate stories.

The spine-chilling incidents of rape and murder have questions for the trust ordinary people can instil in these companies. These incidents also expose the trust-deficit in these business models, where these companies cannot fully control a customer’s experience. Ensuring hiring needs of the sharing economy and validating hires for genuine identity in real-time is challenging. TrustOnDemand™ can help here!

The Instantaneity of On-demand Economy

The Instantaneity of On-demand Economy

Instantaneity is the prime driver of the on-demand economy. But, even as startups and established business are consumed by the need for speed, they are becoming increasingly aware of the risk to their reputation because of the antecedents of the people critical for the driving of the on-demand economy – among others, cab drivers, delivery staff and short-stay house guests. That’s the first of seven trends I identified in my opening blog on key background screening trends for the year 2016. Let me now deliberate on each one, starting with the on-demand economy, for which let me coin an acronym – ODE.

Disruption is severance and it’s not a positive word but disruption is the holy grail of the on-demand economy. Regardless of the industry you are in, if you can improve the speed with which you have delivered the service, you have disrupted the market. ODE is of course a great thing for consumers, but equally it puts great pressure on the regulators and the government to not compromise key issues like security. Recent efforts by the state government in Delhi to promote car pooling, even though necessitated by intolerable levels of atmospheric pollution, are laudable. But would you want to car pool with someone who has a record of rash driving? Can that be prevented?

Instantaneity of demand requires a modicum of vigilance, in the absence of which things have the potential to go horribly wrong.

Consider these incidents:

Just over a year ago, we had an extremely unfortunate incident in which a vicious cab driver raped a 27-year-old woman in Delhi. There was a huge public outcry and the government’s reaction was typical overkill. It blacklisted and banned all but six radio taxi services. While what the government did in December 2014 was misplaced hubris, the case did bring to light the need for background checks of cab drivers. In July 2015, Delhi Police on Sunday arrested a pizza delivery boy for allegedly molesting a five-year-old girl in south-east Delhi. The incident took place when the victim was molested by the accused after she had come out play in the staircase of her residential building. There was no one at her home during the incident. If you think consumers only are at risk from service providers, think again. In October last year, an elderly man was taken into custody for attempting to molest a beautician, who had answered a house call in Hyderabad for a beauty treatment.

When she showed up, the lady who had called was not home and the man tried to molest the beautician. So, while delivery and shared services are creating opportunities for microenterprise and self-employment, providing opportunities to participate in the country’s economic activity and for others an opportunity to earn additional or supplementary income, they do present a challenge in safety and security terms.

You don’t want someone with a criminal record showing up at your door to deliver a pizza. Nor do you want, someone who comes to stay as a short-term guest in your apartment to be someone with a history of violence. Total strangers are renting things to each other. Online social networks and secure payment mechanisms are allowing them to do that. But in this sharing economy security is the missing link. And that is where background screeners will be required to provide solutions to problems which, if not solved, have the potential to stymie the growth potential of this collaborative consumption.The background screening industry will be required to step up and provide three quick checks for cab drivers, delivery staff and short-stay guests: identity check (to establish that the person is who he says he is), criminality record check. (a straightforward check establishing that the individual in question has no criminal history) and accessibility check (an address verification). Using these three check levers reasonable instantaneity will be ensured by background screeners giving a fillip to the on-demand collaborative economy. ODE is a good thing; positives far outweigh negatives.

Its vulnerabilities are public relations challenges which they will need to fight. Background screeners can add a much required shoulder to the ODE wheel.

TrustOnDemand™ – Progress Till Date

TrustOnDemand™ – Progress Till Date

The economy of today is hugely reliant on ‘Trust On Demand’. Think about it. A lot of commonly used on-demand services like cabs, food delivery etc. will not have any business if it weren’t for trust. Just ten years ago, the entire concept of such businesses seemed like a far-fetched idea. But with advancements in technology and the world getting more and more digitized every day, the economy requires us to be more trusting of other individuals and groups. As a result of this pressing need for trust enablement for the growth of the economy, TrustOnDemand ™ was born. Using this game-changing development, identity verification is now simpler and easier than ever.

The biggest beneficiaries of TrustOnDemand™ are businesses, HR industry, as well as the government agencies. Earlier, screening candidates was a complex, tiring task which took extremely long. Moreover, since it was manually done, there were chances for many possible mistakes which could cost the organisation lakhs of rupees. Such risks include improper identity verification and background verification, where the candidate provides false information about himself or herself, and the company is not aware of these.

This not only compromises the safety and security of people involved but also gives way to various criminal activities. In fact, in 2016, a whopping 77 percent of all credit card frauds in the country were due to identity theft. And according to a research conducted by AuthBridge, one out of every six applicant lies on their resume in India. These are clear examples of why India needs a better identity verification process, and TrustOnDemand™ is exactly the solution you need.


TRUST – It All Begins with Background Verification

In the highly digitized sharing economy of today, it is safe to say that one of the most important element is trust. Without trust, a lot of businesses that cater to our needs on a daily basis would be useless. People we don’t know drive us to our destinations, and we sleep in houses of people we have never met before. This speaks volumes about how the modern economy is greatly dependant on Trust On Demand. The HR industry too has evolved and employee background verification processes have never been made simpler and faster. Before digitization, this was a long process of collecting all pertinent records of the potential employee and going through them manually to make sure there were no discrepancies. Not surprisingly, building trust took a long time and required extensive work. However, with new technologies and innovations, pre-employment checks can now be conducted with just a few clicks. This allows you, as an employer, to make sure that the person you are offering a position to in your company is someone reliable and trustworthy.


Employee screening made easy with new HR technology

There is no doubt that digital technology is the driving force of trust and transparency today in every industry. For example, companies can track their supply chain using RFID technology and remote sensors to not only ensure safety but quality too. Moreover, social media sites give more power to consumers by providing them with a global platform to review poor customer services and the likes. In the same way, Talent Acquisition for organisations is faster, simpler and more reliable due to innovations in digital technology. Hiring a new employee may have been a lengthy, even risky process before. But today, building trust with potential employees does not have to be implicit anymore. Besides, other technologies like advanced and user-friendly APIs, other tech-enabled platforms and sophisticated algorithms make it possible to verify information and establish trust with a potential employee. Not only can you verify their identity, you can also make sure that the information they present to you is indeed true by running a profile and reputation check


Why background verification for employees is the first step for building trust

As much as we would like to believe that every human being is a fair and honest individual, that is not always the case. In fact, 1 in every 6 candidates were found to lie on their resume in 2017- 48% increase from the previous year (Ref: AuthBridge’s Annual Trend Report 2017) This clearly shows that the number of people lying about their background and other information is on the rise. But luckily, the number of ways to verify such information is also increasing. As a result, you, as an employer, has more power over who becomes a part of your organisation. You have the ability to make sure that you are hiring someone who is exactly who he or she says they are, and that they won’t be a threat to the company or to other employees. Before a job offer, you can first build trust with them through fact-driven processes. It is this new technology of Trust-On-Demand that is changing the way employers and potential employees interact across various industries.

Resume Fraud - Fake Educational Qualifications

Resume Fraud – Fake Educational Qualifications

Being a HR professional in today’s business environment is not easy.  Along with other challenges that come their way, the one at the core of their responsibilities is staffing.  Finding the right person (with the right qualifications, skills and experience), to fill a vacancy in a quick time, is always a tough ask.

A basic element of every job application is education.  Upon this is built a person’s professional profile.  It is here that a major portion of the resume fraud occurs.  Studies have shown 41% of job applicants are untruthful about their educational achievements.  Another survey reveals that 20% of applicants actually concocted fake degrees.  Many of these fraudulent degrees were manufactured and supplied by “diploma factories.

” A Google search will bring up thousands of sites that openly advertise their wares.  These suppliers offer phony (but real-looking) diplomas and degrees.  They will doctor the ‘genuine’ fake degree of any institution with dates and period of study to the buyer’s requirements.  They will also provide everything including grades in specific subjects.

Research done in the US brought up over 300 sites.  They are making good money because the fake degree industry is estimated to have made over $500 million in the last year.  The University Grants Commission (UGC), India has a list of 21 fake universities.  That means that there are a lot of unqualified people out there.

Diploma Mills are another threat area.  The UGC has a list of ‘known’ diploma mills.  A cursory check on the Internet will reveal many, many more.  Guess-estimates abound (both in India and abroad) but no one has an exact number on this whole phenomenon.  Such is the brazenness of many of these “diploma mills” that now provide toll-free phone numbers should prospective employers call to verify and check the degrees of their clients.

In India, the education verification process is complicated by the sheer number of universities that exist in the country.  There are 504 universities of all dispensations – including state, private, central, and deemed universities.  In this scenario figuring out whether a job applicant’s degree is genuine is a major headache for any HR executive.

Genuine qualifications are the basic building blocks for job aspirants.  No company can afford to have inadequately qualified employees.  They are a risk to the well-being, sustainability, and success of the company.  Thorough and robust background screening of employees, both existing and prospective, is a major pre-requisite for any business.

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