Blog: The unseen benefits of return-to-work programs

By May 15, 2019 July 24th, 2019 Blog

This article is from Sterling’s Fall 2018 issue of its Risk & Business Magazine. Want a copy? Email jdalgleish@sterlingagency.com. Please enjoy and share.

Another option to consider

Nearly every business owner has, at one point or another, had an employee who either became sick, injured, or had some sort of personal crisis which took them out of the workplace. During that time, you are short a person, the workload is heavier on everyone else, and you end up paying workers’ compensation costs for the time they are out. Productivity goes down, the company loses money, morale inevitably goes down. Often, business owners simply accept this. There is, however, another way.

Establishing a formal return-to-work program may be one of the best things you can do for your company. Reasons why:

  • Experienced employees will be able to get back to work, resulting in less time and money spent on hiring and recruitment
  • It provides a means through which you can keep regular contact with employees who are out due to injury
  • A significant reduction in the financial impact of workplace injuries
  • Helps anticipate and control hidden costs
  • Improves your ability to manage injury claims and restrictions that may come along with them
  • Provides a proactive means of cost containment

The benefit

One of the largest benefits, however, may be the psychological effects. Having someone out with an injury could potentially lead to abuse of the program if they are out (and getting paid) for an extended period. Getting them back fast not only helps to boost morale but it also shows consistency with procedure, improves the self-worth of the injured employee, and helps to establish communication and organization amongst the other employees.

Return-to-work programs don’t have to be very complicated, but they should be well designed and thought out. A haphazard program of any type is not good for business, and this is no different.

There are some steps you can take to ensure everything is included within your plan:

  • Gather initial information on other return-to-work programs to measure potential savings
  • Ask coworkers about their thoughts on injuries and return-to-work practices
  • Demonstrate a commitment to early return-to-work
  • Create actionable and clear goals for the program
  • Create a return-to-work team and define its responsibilities
  • Develop a workflow chart outlining the return-to-work process
  • Develop and maintain a job bank with transitional roles
  • Create a communication and education plan
  • Keep records so that you can measure the success of the program
  • Distribute the plan and make it easily accessible to all employees

Does your company have a return-to-work program in place? If not, have you thought about creating one? Sterling Insurance Group is here to help you get started today. Just give Sterling Insurance Group a call at 586-323-5700. Helping employees get back to work not only helps you, it helps the entire company, including the employees who are out.