Tips for Developing and Maintaining a Return to Work Program
In 2018 the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported: “approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses” were submitted by employers in the year prior. For this reason, creating and maintaining a return to work program is crucial to not only saving the company money but also flexes the company’s commitment to an employee’s early return to work.
The below elements can serve as the foundation for your company’s return to work program.
Return to Work Team
Dedicating a group of qualified individuals to a return to work team is crucial to the success of a return to work program. The team can provide leadership, define and manage expectations as it relates to injured employees, and serve as an intermediary communication point between involved parties. Having a team focused on the program ensures proper administration of all program-related elements and management of concerns or issues.
Be Transparent. Outline the Process.
Create a flowchart to maximize employee involvement and knowledge, while eliminating confusion about the program. The flowchart should contain vital information about the process and administration steps, and proper actions to take. Once completed, the flowchart can serve as your organization’s action plan.
The best way to measure the success of any program is to collect accurate pieces of data that help build a complete picture, from start to finish, of the program, its successes, and areas that could be improved. Start with tracking the dollars saved per individual for each injured employee. From here, stakeholders can help determine other data points to collect in order to build out the program reporting.
Put the Plan in Action
Once all of the program’s details are ironed out, the program can be launched. Make sure to include employees, supervisors, union officials (where necessary), workers’ compensation professionals, and medical providers (where necessary). It is important to have full support from all involved parties to ensure the continued success of the program. From providing written descriptions or program-specific definitions to reviewing the program with new hires or periodically with seasoned employees throughout the year, the program’s ultimate success revolves around good communication and continued education.
While the time away from work for most employees is only temporary, having a proper back to work program in place minimizes the consequences of what could easily turn into a major disruption for the organization. Contact Vensure to learn how we can help injured employees make a full and timely recovery so they can get back to work through careful claim monitoring and processing.