At the 2015 WCI Conference this session discussed how to build an engagement model that is sustainable, scalable and measurable.
The speaker for this session was Kathy Kukor, Senior Consultant, Risk International Services, Inc.
Kathy Kuhor started her session by explaining how to connect the process with the people to improve return-to-work outcomes. The impact of an injury is felt by the company, work team, community, family and employee. The ripple effect of an injury is all encompassing.
Do we really want to leave outcome to chance?
When creating a return-to-work program at your organization, create a vision and mission statement. The vision statement should be concise and succinct. The tone and terminology are critical. The statement should be positive, present tense, short and challenging. Your return-to-work policy will always be changing. The mission statement should be written by an author that is qualified and credible. This statement should state what your company does, how your company does it, and what value is the company bringing to others.
The first 24 hours are the most critical for a good outcome. The tone and attitude in these first 24 hours facilitate success. This starts with leadership.
Transitional job duties are an essential item to outline in your program. The transitional job assignments can be jobs, tasks, special assignments, volunteer activities, or any combination of these. Try not to get boxed in with job descriptions and try to keep your eye on the injured worker. The transitional job duties should be temporary (defined my temporary restrictions), meaningful (productive and value added tasks), compliant (adheres to medical guidelines), progressive (keep pace with recovery), goal oriented (return to regular duty) , managed (active management participation) and measured (progress monitored).
The return-to-work program need to have flexibility and customize to each employee. The organization should promote collaboration and partnership, especially with the injured worker. It is beneficial for the organization to pay regular wages for the hours worked unless otherwise defined by labor agreement, allow overtime if medically released for OT, and use detailed forms that describe work capabilities and restrictions. The organizations program should plan for a safe return to work for the injured worker. This includes inspecting and modifying the work area if needed, prepare the employee for resuming work activity and follow up with supervisor and injured worker frequently.
There are several challenges an organization faces when creating a return-to-work program such as employees believe they should heal at home, crossroads between WC, FMLA, ADA, and HIPPA, union contract and grievances, no work slips from treating doctor, employee has retained an attorney and over-extended stay in alternate duty assignments.