Warehouse employee lifting box at work

Functional Employment Testing Onboarding Done Right

Vic Zuccarello, OTR/L, CEAS II


I just finished reading an article on PeopleAdmin.com discussing Onboarding, the method by which employers ensure that new employees have the tools to be happy and productive in their job, and don’t quit. The Onboarding process starts before the employee begins work and lasts through the first year of employment. By that time, an employer has invested a lot of money into the new employee, so the Onboarding process had better be done right.

Onboarding Mistakes Are Costly:

According to Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), employee turnover can be as much as 50% in the first 18 months of employment. This is a significant number considering the average number of jobs held in one person’s career has increased from 6 to 11 in the last two decades and the cost for replacing an employee is over 25% of their annual salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Why Do New Employees Quit?

When I meet with a new employer client, they cite many reasons new employees leave a job. Either they haven’t been mentored well (management issue), not fitting in or are bad hires (behavioral issues & hard to predict), or they can’t master new skills (cognitive issue/expensive to test for). Sometimes, a new hire cannot maintain the level of productivity required because they are not strong enough or they lack the necessary level of stamina (a physical and quite preventable issue). The solution for this issue is easy, cost-effective, and legal — post offer employment tests (POETs).

POETs are Easy to Implement and Develop:

After an initial Needs Assessment, a skilled POET developer would perform a Job Demands Analysis to determine the job’s Essential Functions. This analysis would include exact measurements of lifting/handling and positional requirements. The evaluator then develops and validates your post offer employment test. Validating your POET is extremely important.. In 2005 the EEOC vs. Dial Corporation found that “subjective testing that does not establish both content validity, criterion validity, and demonstrate a business necessity is against EEOC policy.” Once validated, you are ready for live testing.

POETs are Legal:

Post offer employment tests are legal when they are job-specific and consistent with business necessity, valid and reliable, and when they provide you with the information necessary to consider Reasonable Accommodation.

POETs Work:

85-95% of new hire candidates will pass the post offer employment test. Those that fail do so because they cannot perform one or more Essential Job Functions or they are a Direct Threat to their own health or the health and safety of others.

Return on Investment:

Employers immediately see an improvement in employees retention rate. They also start seeing employees reporting less work related injuries within the first few months of employment. Many employers have also implemented Fit-for-Duty testing following a work related or non-work related injury. This ensures less re-injuries. Many companies see a return on their investment within the first year of implementation. OccuCare has a combined 80 years of experience implementing legally defensible POETs and Fit-for-Duty tests anywhere in the United States. Testing can be performed at any of the 2,000 locations that are our testing network.

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