Do you want reliable employees in your organization? Every business does, but few of them find the right talent. In today’s employment market, where it’s getting harder and harder to find the right people, many companies are settling for less in their HR practices.

A reliable employee is like gold. They’re a huge asset for your business and something you must hold on to at all costs. So, how do you find reliable employees? HR practices typically involve reviewing the person’s resume and past work history. They’ll check on references and conduct a pre-employment interview to see if they feel the candidate is the right fit for the company.

The problem with the pre-employment process is that it’s not infallible, and many employees can lie on their resumes, make fake references, and scam their way into a position at your company. Once the candidate is in the business as a registered employee, it takes a lot of work to get them out.

Can you implement a lie detector test into your pre-employment processes? Can a polygraph help you find reliable employees? This post unpacks everything you need to know about using polygraphs to uncover the diamonds from the coal in your pre-employment and employment processes.

What Is the Definition of Employee Reliability?

Let’s start with the definition of a reliable employee. What is a reliable employee, and what can you expect from their behavior on the job? Business owners can consider a reliable employee as someone they can rely on to get the job done. You don’t have to moan at them to do something, and they use initiative in their work, exceeding your expectations of what you expect from them.

Employee reliability is a critical factor in the efficacy and performance of our team. A reliable employee adds value to your organization and pushes your business forward, making more money for you, which you, in turn, pass on to your team to motivate them to keep up an outstanding performance. A reliable employee doesn’t require you to sit on them all day; they can operate independently and do so with integrity.

Here are some of the other qualities that encompass a reliable employee.

  • Showing up at work-related functions.
  • Arriving at work on time.
  • Consistently performing to their best and meeting deadlines.
  • Operating at a high level.
  • Being willing to take on more responsibility.
  • Taking the initiative without being coerced into it.

These are some of the qualities of reliable employees, and we’ll look at them in more depth later. However, for the moment, let’s look at something critical to employee performance and reliability – work ethic. Business owners need to hire candidates that are productive and efficient at their job. This goes for on-site and remote positions.

For instance, you don’t want to hire someone for a remote position that doesn’t have a good work ethic. Remote work requires the employee to have tremendous discipline, or they’ll slack off, and there’s no real way you can check on what they’re doing with their time. You can set benchmarks and milestones for them to meet weekly and daily, but you don’t know if they’re putting effort into the work or just doing what it takes to get by.

Reliability is more than simply finishing the work allocated to you promptly. It also refers to handling that workload and using company resources to help you produce faster and better results. The management and the team should be able to rely on the employees to deliver to the best of their skill level and ability.

It takes time for an employee to prove their reliability and performance. Reliable employees separate themselves from the pack as they progress in their company. They show the ability to work independently and as part of a team while producing work and results of a high standard. Reliability is more than just “brown-nosing” management.

Employee reliability has a knock-on effect on all other aspects of the company’s operations. It affects the employee experience as a whole in the company, affecting employee engagement and team collaboration. It’s essential to consider reliability as the glue that holds the company and team performance together.


How Do Reliable Employees Benefit Your Business?

So, how can employee reliability affect your business? We’ve already discussed the benefits of having reliable employees, but let’s drill down into the details.


Employees Carry Out the Organizations Mission

Employees are important to a business because they define its function and mission. They influence your clients and form the image of your business in your customer’s eyes. For instance, your business has a focus on customer service. Your employees are responsible for carrying out this company value; the organization can’t do it without them.

They’re the Bedrock of the Company

The employees are the lifeblood of any organization. They are the cogs in the machine that keep everything running smoothly. If you don’t have employees, you don’t have customers, and you don’t have a business. If you don’t value your employees and do everything possible to improve the employee experience, you can’t expect them to produce a blue-ribbon customer experience.

Employees Drive Company Revenue

The employees are the ones that engage with customers and drive revenue. Their skillset and dedication to the job and their career are what build a company’s bottom line. For instance, you could have someone on your sales team which runs through the script and does as little as possible. At the end of the month, they barely meet their budget.

Then you have sales professionals that make selling seem effortless. They understand persuasion and how to use that in their pitch. As a result, they double their monthly budget while the others it back and wonder how they do it instead of analyzing their strategy.

They Influence the Customer Journey and Experience

The customers engage with your employees. You can create guidelines for your employees to follow to process the client through the customer journey. However, it’s up to the employee to execute this process in a manner that’s consistent with your company values and guidelines surrounding your customer journey.


Reliable Vs. Unreliable Employees

What’s the difference between a reliable and an unreliable employee? There’s a set of employee characteristics that employers must look for and compare against benchmarks for their employment standards.


Teamwork is an essential quality in a reliable employee. If employees can’t work with others, they’ll fail to collaborate and use available resources. Successful collaboration requires excellent communication skills, dedication, tolerance, and patience, with the rest of the team.

By demonstrating teamwork skills, employees can exhibit several other desirable skills. Being a team player ensures the employee contributes positively to the team. Good team players have the following characteristics.

  • They’re flexible and don’t have a problem changing their operating procedures or the employee experience.
  • They’re committed to the team’s success and understand their organizational role and how it fits into the overarching organizational narrative.
  • They are responsible, and you can depend on them to deliver in a pressure situation.
  • They exhibit strong problem-solving skills and don’t crack under pressure. They understand how to leverage company resources to resolve any issue.
  • They’re respectful and supportive of the team.

Adaptability is also crucial to effective teamwork and employee function within the organization. Team members who adapt to motivating and leadership roles have a better relationship with the team and management.


Reliable employees have the ability and skillset to work independently of others. They operate without the need for managers standing over them, pushing them to succeed. Even in team-oriented organizations, employees need to have the capability to make decisions independently of others.

There’s a level of trust between the management and the employee. The manager can rely on the employee to deliver results without micro-managing the process. A reliable employee that can operate independently has the following characteristics.

  • They have good focus and can work without someone standing over them.
  • They have well-developed time-management principles.
  • They are resourceful and think outside of the box.
  • They can critique their work and make changes to improve results.

When employees can work independently, management can rely on them to deliver their best performance without requiring direct supervision.


Many business owners consider management as part of the organization required to display leadership skills. Reliable employees demonstrate good leadership skills that move the organization forward.

They can take charge in stressful and pressurized situations where unreliable employees would crumble. Some of the good tenants of strong leadership skills include self-confidence, skills, honesty, and reliability.

  • They display excellent organizational skills.
  • They can identify the strengths and weaknesses in the team and work with the weaker people to strengthen them.
  • They have confidence in the management and their ability to lead.
  • They have a character that inspires other people on the team.
  • They have empathy toward other team members.
  • They can give constructive feedback to team members and management.

Employee leadership lays the foundation for management to recognize the talent suitable for promotion. It reduces the need to hire management from outside the team, allowing promotion from within the company and cutting costs for recruitment and training.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Reliable employees have good interpersonal and communication skills. They get along with the entire team and don’t form “clicks” within the team that pit dome employees against others. They display empathy when they understand each team member’s position and how they fit in the organizational space.

They can communicate with the team and the clients. For instance, if a customer has a hard time and calls the customer service desk, a reliable employee will work with the customer to resolve the problem. They’ll go out of their way to ensure they hang up the call with the customer satisfied.

The unreliable employee will only go as far as they feel like going and then give up if they think the customer isn’t playing along. The result is weakened customer experiences. Good communicators display the following characteristics in handling team and client relationships.

  • They offer a high level of professionalism to the team.
  • They have an open mind to new ideas.
  • They can communicate verbally and non-verbally.

Good communicators are good listeners. They understand other people’s positions and alter their experience in the customer or employee experience to accommodate what the other person has to say.



Employee integrity is something that’s challenging to find in today’s workforce. Traits like honesty and accountability are becoming harder to find in employees. Integrity also refers to employees being honest about their preferences and capabilities.

An employee with integrity will stand up for their team if their manager abuses their authority. They’ll operate from a space where they are consistent with their values. For instance, they deliver work to a high standard day in and day out. Unreliable employees are inconsistent, and they don’t provide reliable results consistently.

Transparency is crucial to the workplace environment and shapes company culture. Reliable employees will display the following traits relating to their integrity.

  • They’re honest about their work progress.
  • They’re ethical in business practices.
  • They’re aware of the company’s core values, demonstrating them daily.
  • They make decisions based on honesty and integrity.

Employees with good integrity create an environment of openness through honest communication with the team and management. The entire organization benefits when employees can share their feedback, concerns, and questions.


Can You Use a Lie Detector Test to Determine Employee Reliability?

Pre-employment screening is vital to selecting a reliable employee over an unreliable worker. Notice we differentiate between employee and worker. That’s because employees value their contribution to the organization, whereas workers do what they need to do to get their paycheck.

The last thing you need is to hire a workforce of workers – you need high-value employees to see your organization succeed. Companies have various HR strategies to weed out the good from the bad when making new hires. For instance, some use psychological tests to determine if the candidate is a good fit.

Companies will also use performance evaluations to ensure that their employees meet the benchmarks required for their position in the company. Employees must perceive that the performance evaluation provides a reliable indicator of actual performance and that their salary, bonuses, and benefits are tied to their performance.

When employees perceive unfairness in the process, they are less likely to commit to the organization and their job. Conversely, if they feel the process is reliable and fair and reliable, they’re motivated to perform on a higher level to achieve recognition and rewards.

While some organizations fund it easy to establish onboarding and performance benchmarks, others might not have the same ease of implementation. So, can instituting a polygraph policy in new candidate onboarding and employee performance evaluation benefit the company and the employee experience?

A Lie detector test can have several benefits, more suited to onboarding candidates than to the performance evaluation side of the employee experience. If you have to strap your employees up to a lie detector test to get them to perform, they might find that somewhat intimidating and unfair.

However, a lie detector test is a good choice for the onboarding process. It helps you weed out those prospective candidates manipulating you to get a spot on your team while not living up to their stated reputation.


What are the Legal Problems with Polygraphs in the Workplace?

The problem with instituting polygraphs in the workplace is that it’s mostly illegal and against the employment act. The Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 prevents employers from using polygraphs in new employee screening.

The Act sees polygraphs as ineffective and inaccurate and responsible for creating an unfair hiring practice. For instance, employers may use it to prevent hiring people they don’t like in the interview process and being discriminatory with their hiring practices.

Using a polygraph for performance reviews may allow employers to fire staff they don’t want around anymore or use it to intimidate staff into leaving. The only time employers may use polygraphs on their workforce is in the event of situations that may harm the rest of the employee base, such as sexual harassment claims. Or if there is a situation that can create economic harm to the company, such as inventory theft.


What Industries Can Use Lie Detector Tests in Pre-Employment Screening?

That said, not all businesses fall under compliance with the Employee Polygraph Protection Act. Some public and private organizations have the right to institute a polygraph policy in the onboarding process. Let’s look at examples of when using a polygraph policy is okay.


Public Sector

The public sector allows employers from government agencies to institute pre-employment and performance screening of their workforce. For instance, candidates applying to the CIA, NSA, FBI, and state or local law enforcement agencies will likely face a pre-employment screening interview consisting of a polygraph exam.

The reason for the use of the polygraph is obvious in this case. These government agencies cannot hire people with criminal records, those with a possible espionage threat, or people with personal problems, such as debt and drug addiction.

Private Sector

Polygraphing is most outlawed in the private sector. However, there are some situations where hiring new people is necessary. For instance, companies involved in the manufacturing and distribution of pharmaceuticals may institute polygraphs in candidate pre-screening. They can’t afford to hire addicts, criminals, or thieves for their business.

The same goes for companies handling high-value assets or security companies transporting them. For instance, you want to avoid hiring a security guard that can plan a cash-in-transit heist of an armored vehicle.


Is It Worth Implementing a Lie Detector Test as Part of Your Employment Policy?

So, there are some instances where implementing a polygraph policy into your pre-employment screening process and performance analysis may benefit the company. However, for the bulk of companies, polygraphs are not allowed. It’s only permitted where there is a threat to the staff or the company presented by an employee.

However, it’s worth writing an employee polygraph policy into your employee contracts. For instance, if you note during the onboarding interview that the employee will be polygraphed if there are instances of theft in the company or if they are accused, or accuse, other employees of sexual misconduct, it could benefit your hiring process.

Many unreliable employees use the onboarding process to understand what they can and can’t do in the company. If you project an image showing the prospective employee you’re not willing to flex for misconduct in the company, they might decide it’s not worth it to go through with the hire and not return for their second interview.

However, reliable employees won’t see this policy as a threat. Instead, they will see it as a plus because they know they’ll work with a team they can trust. The result is a better quality of employees entering your company and a workforce that delivers results.


How Do You Arrange an Employee Polygraph Test?

Employers may not hire an internal team to handle polygraph exams. They must contract independent examiners or firms to conduct the polygraph process. There are hundreds of polygraph professionals across the United States.

The polygraph professional or firm must be registered, licensed, and bonded. When hiring a polygraph company, ensure you’re working with a team with a solid track record of success. Experienced polygraph professionals are the best choice because they rarely make mistakes, and you can trust the results.