“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary” –Vince Lombardi
At the 2015 WCI Conference this session addressed the issues faced from employees returning to work and to create a successful return-to-work program. .
The speakers included Margaret Spence, President/CEO, Douglas Claims & Risk Consultants, Inc, and Rose Royo, Supervisor, Workers Compensation, Miami Dade County Public Schools.
Key idea to remember, work smarter not harder. Main focus when creating a return to work program is the employee. The injured worker is an employee not a claimant. Imperative to make sure the employee knows they are vital to you and that you are not just treating them as a claim. The employment situation creates the workers’ compensation situation. It is essential to have a happy medium when working with an employee and the return to work program. The goal is to keep the employee working you do not want to get wrapped up in everything else.
When you create a return to work program, it is helpful follow these guidelines:
-Create an injury management team-this starts with the highest employee in your organization
-Understand the organization’s why- injured employee should be at the center of the focus
-Define the process-make sure there are steps the employee needs to take in order to get back to work
-Embrace your purpose and value-Remember your employee is most important
-Make the business care-costs money to bring new employees into the company, focus on getting the injured worker back to work
-Find ways to engage-this program should be a collaborative effort between several departments
-Create an integrated disability team- build proactive policies
As an employer you cannot be afraid to ask the employees what can we do for you in order to get you back to your job and work at 100%. The saying goes a “happy worker is a happy worker!”
Return to work programs are not something you create in a year and never look at the program again. Return to work programs are something you constantly revisit and re-evaluate. There are times one thing worked for one employee that will not work for another employee. Once you create the invitation for the employee to come back to work, the organization should follow up.
The organization should ask themselves the following questions after the initial invitation to return-to-work:
-Do you have a real job the injured worker can perform available for them?
-Does the job have a start and end time for the employee?
-Have you as an organization communicated the expectations of this job to the injured worker?
-have you made arrangements for doctor appointments, diagnostics, or PT?
-Have you made arrangements for transportation or assistance with dressing or hygiene?