Do What Your Policies Say in Business and at Work

I dutifully reported for the annual routine blood and urine tests my doctor prescribed over the weekend. While I was completing the testing input (glucose, not drug, BTW – however, I have made more than my share of employment-related drug-testing donations over the years, in the process of adjudicating employment drug-testing policies) in the lab’s bathroom, I was confronted by this visual policy contradiction:


Drug Test Policy


Lab Bathroom

Yep – contrary to the posted policy, there was plenty of soap and towels in the rest room. Prior to providing my glucose test sample, the lab tech did administer a pre-employment urine drug test. As I waited my turn in the hall, the lab tech gave the prospective employee the right instructions (e.g., don’t flush; don’t wash your hands and/or use the soap; don’t run the water; don’t use the towels) and then the lab tech stood right next to the closed door as the prospective employee provided their urine sample, listening. During my turn in the bathroom, I noticed that the lab tech had colored the toilet water blue; and that the electronic towel dispenser and the faucet would have made noise, hence the lab tech’s listening stance. The lab tech clearly practiced good drug testing controllership, with the exception of the bottle of soap in the rest room. Even if the prospective employee attempted to alter his urine sample with the soap, it would have been clearly identified in the urine test, invalidating the test and jeopardizing the prospective employee’s new job. By my experienced observation, it appeared that all went well.

However, the rest room status and drug-testing procedure did not reflect the posted policy. From a credibility and trust standpoint, posted policies should reflect the reality – the boots-on-the-ground, day-to-day practice – of an organization’s standard operating procedures. When the words and actions don’t match, the gap creates doubt and mistrust with employees and customers alike – and regulators don’t take kindly to such gaps, either.

How well do you do what your policies say, in business and at work?

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