The Drug Detection Agency (TDDA) CEO Kirk Hardy talks candidly about industry leading innovation, the frightening and rapid rise of the drug Ice and how TDDA franchisees are making a positive difference in both workplaces and the wider community.
TDDA is the industry leader in on-site workplace drug testing and this year celebrates 10 years of operation. Illicit drug use costs Australian businesses alone more than $3.3 billion a year in lost productivity, absenteeism and injury, and recognising this issue needed to be addressed Kirk established TDDA.
Now operating out of 37 territories throughout Australasia, TDDA specialises in on-site testing vehicles with qualified collecting and screening staff. This service is enhanced with policy design services and training and education.
Over the years Kirk and the TDDA team have seen a huge change in attitude towards workplace drug and alcohol testing – a positive change. “It’s fantastic to see that the work of our franchisees throughout Australasia is making a difference, not only in creating drug-free and safer work environments, but also positively impacting on wider community life outside the workplace.”
TDDA is rapidly growing its franchise base across Australasia with plenty of opportunities available for the right people.
“Honesty, integrity, hard work, attention to detail – these are all key attributes we look for in potential franchisees. If you relate well to people – staff and clients – enjoy a challenge and want to make a difference in the community then we want to hear from you.”
TDDA – the innovative industry leader
TDDA continues to lead the field in on-site workplace drug and alcohol testing with the imminent opening of a state-of-the-art laboratory to enhance Australasian drug testing services.
Kirk says, “We’re always striving to enhance our service offering to our customers, which in turn continually adds value to our franchisees.”
To be known as TDDA Omega Laboratory Services it is a joint venture with USA based Omega Laboratories, Inc., also a leader in its field. The laboratory will offer a range of drug testing services including hair, oral fluid (saliva), and urine testing, as well as testing program management services globally.
Although well established globally, hair drug testing is a new emerging market in Australasia, partly due to the lengthy wait for test results, but the new laboratory will speed this process up considerably. Hair testing is a reliable way to detect lifestyle drug usage, as traces of drugs remain embedded in the hair shaft, while urine and oral fluid (saliva) testing will be used to detect recent usage. Kirk says the new laboratory means that clients will now have access to the most accurate testing options to address their needs and help create a safer workplace and ultimately community.
“The last few years have seen tremendous growth in the drug testing industry worldwide. This partnership with Omega Laboratories offers employers in Australasia the benefit of having the fastest turnaround time in the industry in the region.”
The problem of the drug Ice
Drugs trend, coming in and out of fashion, and joined by synthetic drugs continually evolving and new ones appearing all the time. Staff at the new TDDA laboratory will closely monitor this ever evolving drug scene.
The drug Ice is the drug of choice with a lot of people at the moment and is a frightening problem throughout Australia. Its use is growing at an alarming rate, which means it’s filtering into workplaces as well as the community.
Kirk says the drug Ice promotes risk-taking behaviour and users can suffer serious impairment, including ‘rebound fatigue’ leading to dangerous errors.
“Ice use poses all sorts of risks in workplaces, especially where heavy machinery is being operated or vehicles driven. Employees out on the road driving big rigs are a huge potential risk, not only to themselves but other innocent road users, and that includes families, it’s scary.”
Ice is a stimulant drug, which means it speeds up the messages travelling between the brain and the body. It is a type of methamphetamine, which is generally stronger, more addictive and has more harmful side effects than the powder form known as speed.
TDDA franchisees conducted 100,000 urine and oral fluid tests in workplaces in 2014. It is on track to complete more than 120,000 this year. Just over 9 per cent of workers returned a positive result for drugs, cannabis remained the most frequent, representing 56.7 per cent, followed by 32 per cent amphetamine (the majority involving Ice) and 29 per cent opiates (codeine/morphine).
TDDA is expanding across Australia and needs your expertise
Become a TDDA franchisee and no two days at work will be the same. Day-to-day business could include employee drug testing at a workplace, a pre-employment hair test at the office or a methamphetamine property inspection for a client before they purchase a house. Or it might be speaking at industry forums, delivering education seminars to workplace employees or training senior managers in how to recognise and deal with drug affected employees in the workplace. Due to the diversity and range of services offered by TDDA franchisees, the support and training given when they first join is vital and TDDA has developed a comprehensive 100-day training package that is delivered to all new franchisees.
Kirk says, “Sitting in a room and learning theory is not effective enough as a component on its own, it needs to be backed up with other aspects, including ‘hands on’ workplace learning and ongoing training.”
The 100-day course delivery involves both internal staff and a group of external international experts in their field, once again ensuring the franchisees are receiving the best possible advice and processes. It starts with a 4-week induction program in Auckland, which is broken up into 2 x 2-week blocks.
The course begins with an introduction to the company and background to the business, the inherent organisational values and the ‘TDDA story’. This is expanded to operational ‘hands on’ training in a franchise office that covers all aspects of drug testing and the tools and equipment available to TDDA franchisees.
Kirk says, “From here on in it gets even better for the franchisees as we cover wider subjects like strategic business planning and sales processes, individualised business skills and public speaking, best practice for client interaction and logistical requirements for the set up of the business.
“The concept of our 100-day program stems from the findings of a favourite business book of mine – Good to Great by Jim Collins – particularly in relation to getting the right people involved in an organisation.
“The book identifies a key sentiment that resonates with me when it states ‘good to great companies know people aren’t their most important asset, the right people are. Good to great companies placed greater weight on character rather than education, skills, or experience when recruiting. The reason: you can teach skills, but character, basic intelligence, work ethic and dedication to fulfilling commitments are values that are ingrained in a person’.”
As well as gaining skills that can be transferred to other areas of a franchisees life, franchisees also receive an Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) qualification. The AQTF is the national set of standards which assures nationally consistent, high-quality training and assessment services for the clients of Australia’s vocational education and training system.
Following on from the ‘classroom’ setting, the Master Franchisee then provides one-onone training with the new franchisee in their own home territory.
“This initial one-on-one training is really important to starting a new franchisee off on the best possible footing. Not only does it help build a relationship with a mentor, it gives them invaluable assistance in setting the business up and local area marketing to drive those all important initial sales,” Kirk says.
The Master Franchisee also assists in on-the-job coaching. In the first instance the master franchisee will coach by delivering the services with the new franchisee observing, and this quickly progresses to a role-reversal with the master franchisee observing and offering assistance as and where necessary. The goal is to set the new franchisee up as quickly as possible and instil confidence in the product and the individual.
Kirk says that TDDA’s franchisees are striving to help create drug-free environments, both in the workplace and wider community. “Saving lives is part of our company’s mantra – our ultimate customer is the ‘girl on the bike’. An analogy we stand by whenever we do policy or education training, or testing within any industry.
“Ultimately our work helping to ensure workplaces are drug and alcohol free to prevent accidents, extends beyond the confines of business walls into the community and beyond, ultimately ‘protecting the girl on the bike’ riding along in every suburb in Australia.”
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