In volatile markets, decision-makers may try to beat competitors by skipping prudent steps that protect their self-interests. Investors grab hot stocks without researching the risks. Frantic homebuyers purchase properties without home inspections, often ending up with a leaky roof or other flaws they must now resolve. This is what is happening in today’s labor market.
In their rush to hire scarce workers, some organizations are forgoing screening procedures such as Post Offer Employment Testing (POET) that validate a candidate’s physical ability to perform the job’s functions. As a result, employers may discover they’ve hired people with chronic conditions or who can’t do the job safely. Firms risk excalating worker compensation costs and lower productivity if new workers become injured or disabled, once again leaving the job slot open.
Is it Time to Bring Back POET?
POET programs are well worth the time and expense because they protect both job seekers and hiring organizations from harm. POET assessments objectively measure the candidate’s ability to meet the job’s physical standards and qualifications. It’s an impartial, legal way for employers to ensure they’re hiring capable people for the job, which decreases lost work time and workers’ compensation claims.
How does POET work? The assessment happens after the employment offer is made but before the employee starts the job. During a POET exam, a qualified occupational or physical therapist assesses the individual’s physical status, strength, and physical abilities to perform the job’s activities as defined in the Functional Job Description. Exams typically include a review of the employee’s medical history, musculoskeletal screenings, and standardized functional testing.
POET’s focus is safety and prevention. POET helps prevent workforce injuries by ensuring new hires can consistently and safely manage the job’s physical requirements. Hiring qualified workers can reduce employee turnover, expensive workman’s compensation claims, and painful disabilities. Finally, standardized POET screenings performed by qualified healthcare professionals can prevent legal challenges by ensuring organizational compliance with federal ADA and EEOC regulations.
Putting the Right Employees in the Right Role
Some organizations are reluctant to use POET, fearing it will cost them good employees. But POET tests don’t necessarily prevent someone from being hired. Employers have options, including:
Look at Job Demands – Some employers find one or two job demands account for the most injuries or POET test failures. Looking at ergonomics to reduce the most difficult demands may significantly decrease test demands and future injuries, while also increasing the potential labor pool.
Accommodations – If an applicant has a disability and can’t perform the job demands without accommodation, the employer and applicant can identify modifications or tools that would allow performance of job duties. Many accommodations are low cost/no costs.
Other Positions – In some cases, the candidate could apply for another job role with more suitable physical demands.
Look at the Interface of Functional Testing and Onboarding – If work conditioning or a strengthening program can be incorporated into an initial training period, test passing scores may be adjusted to increase the potential labor pool. Employees can then build up their strength and flexibility with work conditioning programs that get them in the right shape for the job.
By hiring qualified applicants, organizations can reduce the number of on-the-job injuries and improve safety by placing employees into positions that match their abilities. With POET programs, employers can hire skilled workers who are also physically capable, enabling both employees and organizations to succeed.