5 Keys to making return to work successful
- Make return to work an integral part of the company’s culture.
To do it right, a back-on-the-job program must be in place before an injury occurs, becoming an integral part of a company’s culture. It should be a carefully written policy that reinforces the company’s dedication to its employees and return-to-work program, clearly establishing the expectations of injured employees. Employees should play an important role in developing the written plan. It should provide a roadmap for employees, supervisors and health care providers in the event of workplace injury.
- Stay in touch with the injured employee.
Making sure the employee continues to feel part of the team is the most critical element in any return-to-work effort. An appropriate person, ideally the frontline supervisor, should be in touch with the injured employee on a regular basis to see how they’re doing. This should be a conversation to make the employee realize they are valued and missed. Get-well cards and other appropriate gestures are also helpful.
- Maintain communication during the transitional period.
When an injured employee returns to work have them sign a return-to-work agreement. This agreement should clearly state the work restrictions specified by the physician and that the employee is not requires nor expected to perform any tasks beyond those restrictions. Give some idea of how long you expect the employee to be in the position. Establish clear expectations, but maintain open lines of communication.
- Supervisor Training.
One of the biggest indicators if a claim will go bad is the relationship between the employee and supervisor. Knowing how to treat an injured employee is not as obvious as one might think. Pressures to get the job done when short-staffed can convey a message of anger rather than encouragement. Supervisors must be on board with the value of return-to-work efforts and be trained properly implement them.
- Work with a treating physician.
Contact the treating physician with information about the employee’s regular job, the return-to-work program and available alternative assignments. Work with the doctor to accommodate the employee’s limitations.
The Seltzer Group, located in Eastern Pennsylvania, specializes in developing safety, workers compensation, human resources, claims, and risk financing programs. They are a proud member of the Keystone Insurers Group and are nationally recognized for their expertise in workers compensation solutions. The Seltzer Group serves businesses and individuals locally, regionally, and on the national level.
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