The Employee Risk Conference was held at the Focus Rooms in Sunninghill, Johannesburg, earlier this month. It’s the kind of event that can really help small business owners as well as key HR personnel in bigger businesses hire safer and more efficiently. Of course, not everyone could be there, which is why we’re sharing a few key insights from the conference.
The event kicked off with former drug dealer, now artist, author and speaker, Shani Krebs, who spent 18 years in Bangkok’s Bang Kwang Central, or “Bangkok Hilton” as it is known by inmates. Krebs was arrested in Thailand for drug trafficking and received the death sentence – a sentence which would later be commuted to 100 years in prison, and eventually shortened to 18 years.
Krebs’ full account of life as the longest serving foreign prisoner in Thailand is available in his book Dragons & Butterflies.
Drugs in the workplace
Next was a panel discussion about drugs in the workplace, with special emphasis on detection before and during employment, and assisting employees with rehabilitation. Why is this important? Because substance abuse is a growing problem for an increasingly large number of employers. Not only does it affect employee and team performance, but it can and does lead to various types of losses for business.
Substance abuse is a topic which is seldom brought up during job interviews, with many employers hoping that any problematic behaviour would be revealed during the screening process. After all, existing stereotypes suggest that substance abusers would either have had trouble with the law at some point in the past, or suffer financial woes. As such many businesses rely on criminal record and background checks as indicators of acceptable behaviour (within a South African context – we are a people who love a frequent “dop ‘n chop” after all).
While those two checks are important, they are not enough. CSI Africa CEO Amelia Griesel recommends that interviews should be followed up with reference checking – of those on the CV, and some not listed on the CV.
Next in line was a discussion about polygraph testing in the workplace, with emphasis on the screening of prospective employees.
Pre-employment polygraph testing remains one of the more effective ways of screening prospective and current employees – especially when there’s no paper trail indicative of previous employee behaviour. Not only can it reveal substance addiction and abuse, but it can also expose previously undetected crimes conducted by the job applicant or employee at a previous or current employer.
Personal Development Analysis
Personal Development Analysis (PDA) presents another means of employee screening, but not in the conventional way. It’s a series of psychometric and competency-based checks based on scientific methodology that matches prospective employees’ individual characteristics to the position they’re interviewing for – employment matchmaking, if you want.
PDA testing can reveal (taken from the PDA Africa website):
- Leadership style
- Decision-making style
- How to lead an individual to success
- Persuasive skills
- Analytical skills
- Sales skills
- Motivation level
- Strengths and developmental areas
- Areas to develop
- Individual and / or group compatibility between one or more individuals and a job
- Individual and or group compatibility between one or more individuals and your company’s competencies
It was an event with a positive dynamic, focusing more on preventative and assistive methods to help both business and its employees overcome the uncertainty of human behaviour. If you didn’t attend this year, be sure to keep an eye out for the next Employee Risk Conference.
Should you require more information on any of the above, or need to discuss your employee risk management strategy with a consultant, call us on 0861 274 911.