“How Are You Feeling Today?” The Role of Communication in Return to Work” Programs

As companies are looking for ways to reduce workers’ compensation costs and avoid unnecessary litigation, executives should consider the value of communications in corporate “Return to Work” programs. Below are a few tips on how management can improve internal communications surrounding “Return to Work” and workers’ compensation processes:

1) Be Proactive – Top management should collaborate and review how the program and compensation are explained to employees before a potential injury even happens. This will help employees and management understand the policies and what they can expect if an employee suffers an injury on the job.

2) Ask Questions – Executives should always be on the lookout for ways to improve internal workers’ compensation processes. Ask yourself these questions when reviewing “Return to Work” policies and internal communications:

  1. How is the organization handling communication once an employee is injured?
  2. Are phone calls made to check in on the employee’s progress?
  3. Have employers reached out to physicians to see if an appointment can be made for the employee, instead of having to wait weeks for a standard doctor’s visit?

3) Show Concern – In the unfortunate event that an employee is injured on the job, keep the lines of communication open between the executive staff and the injured employee. Check in with him or her regularly. Show sincere, heartfelt concern for the well-being of your employee and ask how you can help him or her find a doctor, find a treatment, etc.  When employers show concern and offer assistance to help an employee during the process, employees are likely to feel more motivated to seek appropriate medical services and participate in a “Return to Work” program.

4) Evaluate, Review and Improve – Review each workers’ compensation claim and each employees’ involvement with a “Return to Work” program. Open the discussion for continual improvement of internal processes. Once you do implement change in programs, make sure you effectively communicate these new processes with your employees, so they are informed and prepared in the event of a workplace injury.

How does your company communicate “Return to Work” programs to your employees?

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