How to Bring an Injured Employee Back to Work
Most employees return to work after recovering from an injury. But a little planning beforehand can ensure that they come back safely, productively and even help you minimize workers’ compensation costs.
Returning to work has far-reaching benefits for employees and employers alike.Employee morale improves and productivity goes up; money to replace and train a new employee is saved and experienced employees are kept on the job. Coordinating effective return-to-work plans can help boost those benefits and help you reduce costs overall.
Here are some steps that might help you create a smooth transition for returning employees:
- Organize a return-to-work committee: Establishing one or two people on-site responsible for developing and implementing return-to-work plans not only provides a visible commitment to helping employees successfully navigate the transition back, but also provides a central contact for employees to go to with questions. The committee might consider developing a range of modified or light-duty tasks and job descriptions, as well as establish a communication protocol following an accident to keep everyone on the same page.
- Begin communicating right after an accident occurs: Even a “Get Well Soon” card can help an employee feel connected and less anxious during recovery, but a thoughtful communication plan has additional benefits. Establishing regular contact with the employee can help you determine how they’re healing and when they can make a return to work, potentially saving unnecessary medical expenses and allowing for an early return. And, as noted here employees in regular contact with their workplace are less likely to seek out legal help on claims.
- Consistently communicate around safety and return-to-work programs: Committing to at least two meetings a year with your return-to-work committee and employees not only communicates your commitment to a safe work environment, but it reassures your team that you have their back should an accident occur and invites buy-in. Reviewing policy regularly will also help you progressively improve your return-to-work plan as you gain insight from your committee and employees.
- Measure and Evaluate Results: As with all programs, management must establish procedures for follow-up and evaluation of return-to-work programs to make sure they are working as intended. Maximizing benefits means dealing candidly with what’s working, and what isn’t, and making changes in a timely fashion.
Questions about how you can reduce your insurance costs? We can help. Call us at 866.919.9578 to find out how you can start saving today.