There is little doubt that return to work programs for employees injured on the job can help reduce worker’s compensation costs while minimizing the disruption to the workplace caused by the loss of the injured worker. However, putting together a return to work program that’s effective can be a challenge.
A lot of the reason for this is that these types of programs must take into account a wide variety of variables, and they must also be flexible enough to adjust to the specific circumstances surrounding each particular claim. However, when put together, they can save your company significantly, and so it’s good to be aware of what mistakes to avoid when designing your own.
PITFALLS TO AVOID
- Insufficient Funds and Resources – One essential aspect of any return to work program is ongoing communication between all parties involved. Depending on the size of your company and the number of active claims you have simultaneously, you will need a dedicated employee to manage them and coordinate with the various healthcare providers, insurance agents, and employees involved.Keeping in regular contact with the injured employee in particular is essential to keeping them on track to getting back to work, and so if there are not enough resources devoted to managing the return to work program, it will be difficult to succeed.
- Lack of Guidance and Focus – Healthcare professionals are an essential part of the worker’s compensation claims process, and they can provide a lot of insight into an injured employees progress towards returning to work. However, relying too heavily on doctors to guide your return to work program can cause things to drag on for longer than necessary.Doctors are experts in their field, but they may not know much about working in yours. That’s why a representative of your company needs to be the guiding force ensuring that the return to work process is always moving forward. Because they’re currently active in the workplace, they can keep the ultimate goal of getting the injured employee back there as well more in focus.
- Failure to Offer Transitional Work – Some employers resist giving the employee the ability to come back to work before they’re able to resume their old duties in full. However, research has shown that offering transitional work can greatly increase the success of a return to work program.The longer an employee stays out of work, the less likely they are to return at all, and while it’s important to put time limits on transitional work and set goals, it’s also beneficial to all parties to be as accommodating to an injured employee as possible without undermining the smooth functioning of the workplace.
The truth is that most workers want to be able to return to their jobs as quickly as they can after an injury. This benefits your company as well as the worker, and so it only makes sense to support that goal through a properly-structured return to work program.
If you’d like to learn more about the worker’s compensation packages we offer, as well as how we can help you design a return to work program that will work for your company, contact our offices today.