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Essential Function Testing helps employers find the right job candidates

Essential Function Testing helps employers find the right job candidates

By Staff reports on March 22, 2024

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System offers a program designed to help employers find team members that possess the physical abilities necessary to perform their jobs safely. Essential Function Testing (EFT) is a proactive screening process that aids in hiring the right candidates and is customized for each individual employer.

“We go to an employer and capture the essential functions, the critical demands unique to that job,” said Brent Webber, PT, manager of injury prevention and industrial rehab at Spartanburg Regional. “And then we develop a test that simulates those job functions.”

Webber and his team work with an employer to ensure each screening test accurately reflects the job’s demands. This multistep process includes: a job questionnaire of existing employees, onsite observation and measurement of critical demands, employee validation of captured critical demands, development of custom EFT to simulate these demands, in-person validation by existing employees of the draft EFT, delivery of a validated Functional Job Description (FJD) and validated EFT to the employer.

The EFT screening typically takes about 45 minutes to an hour. Upon completion, a functional assessment is made and delivered back to the employer. An EFT verifies simultaneously, for both the employer and employee, that the potential employee can safely meet the demands of the job prior to starting.

“As emplyers, we know how much effort it takes to secure a candidate in today’s market,” Webber said. “If a new employee is hired and injured within the first few months of employment because they cannot physically meet the demands of the job, then much of that time, expense and effort was wasted, and more importantly an employee is injured. Furthermore, the process begins anew, and employers can quickly find themselves in a frustrating, costly and dysfunctional cycle.”

“Additionally, if your market is one where many employers are performing EFTs and seeking the same candidates, you may have an increased risk of exposure because many candidates self select out of positions where they don’t believe they can successfully meet the EFT demands and instead seek non-EFT requiring positions.”

An EFT program also helps job candidates have a clearer picture of the demands of a position prior to employment.

Employers should look at their past hiring and injury history to help assess their needs.

“We recommend to employers, ‘Look at your injuries, your near-misses and recordable incidents,’” Webber said. “If you see that your injuries tend to be strain/sprain events in the first six to 12 months, or you have a very high attrition rate in the first three to six months, you should consider an EFT.”

To learn more, interested employers should contact Cliff Floyd, director of business development for WorkHealthySC, 864-590-1384,